SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The number of veterans using veterans benefits in South Dakota is increasing, according to the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs 2022 report.
The number of veterans in South Dakota will vary by source. U.S Census uses 54,350, which is a number attached for 2017-2022. The state has an estimated 63,322 veterans, according to VA Claims Insider. The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation uses an estimate of 61,000 veterans. The U.S. VA uses about 65,000 for its estimate.
“Due to the growing veteran population in South Dakota, the number of VA benefit-related
filings have multiplied over the last five years, the state VA said in its 2022 report.
The South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs said support was provided to more than 65,000 veterans and their families in 2022.
The 2022 report from the state VA said there was a 22% increase in claims filing from August through December 2022 compared to 2021. In-person interviews at claims offices increased by more than 40% in 2022.
The VA cited the the PACT Act as one reason for the increases. The PACT Act expanded VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances. The South Dakota VA cited veterans who served in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Guam and the Gulf War as potentially eligible of PACT Act veterans.
Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Guam are related to the Vietnam war.
The state has 22,104 living Vietnam-era veterans. Agent Orange-related disability claims for those veterans has been increasing, according to the S.D. VA.
There are 27,336 living Gulf War-Era veterans in South Dakota.
The Housing Assistance Council said 30% of the state’s veterans have a service connected disability rating. The Housing Assistance Council which uses tabulations from the Census Bureau’s 2015-2019 American Community Survey (ACS), 2019 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) Data, and 2020 HUD Point in Time Homeless Estimates (PIT).
An estimated 20,763 veterans have a service-related disability rating, according to the Census Bureau.
Disability and other issues can impact employment and income.
The Census listed the median income for all the state’s veterans in 2022 as $49,443. These were inflation-adjusted dollars.
Veterans can receive job training, employment and education through the GI Bill.
The state VA said 365 veterans were approved for on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs in 2022. The state had 187 veterans use the employment with 40 active firms and 51 active programs. There were 1,538 students using the GI Bill for education benefits.
State veterans also qualify for honor guard claims as well as other funeral benefits.
The state pays veterans’ service organization honor guards for conducting services at funerals for veterans. In 2022, 1,022 claims were paid out for a total of $61,800. The stipend increased to $100 on July 1, 2022.
The state will also pay $100 to the cost of a government granite, marble headstone or bronze marker to qualified veterans. A total of $25,600 was paid out in 2022.
The state also has a state veterans cemetery that opened in 2021. Veterans can be buried there at no cost. There is also a benefit at cost to spouse or eligible dependents.
All burial options are of NO cost to eligible veterans.
Spouse/Eligible Dependent: $893 all burial options.
South Dakota has at least 54,350 veterans.
That’s the number from the U.S. Census for 2021.
That’s one of the sources for veterans data in each state. The population estimate will vary by source from the 54,350 to an estimated 63,322 from the VA Claims Insider. and 65,429 in 2020, according to the U.S. VA. The 54,350 is also used by the Housing Assistance Council which uses tabulations from the Census Bureau’s 2015-2019 American Community Survey (ACS), 2019 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) Data, and 2020 HUD Point in Time Homeless Estimates (PIT).
The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation used a Census Bureau figure from 2019 which said there were about 61,000 veterans 18 and older in South Dakota.