WARREN -- Recent job layoffs and the problems of advancing age have caused more veterans to seek financial assistance from the Trumbull County Veterans Service Commission, officials say.
The commission has requested from county commissioners a budget increase of 23 percent, about $85,000, in 2002. Of that money, $75,000 is for financial assistance to local veterans and their widows and dependents.
"We are obligated to pay it," Commissioner James Tsagaris said. "With some of the mills closing down, we know there is a need over there."
The commission helps veterans and their relatives with emergencies and also provides stopgap financial help during the time it takes for the federal Veterans Administration to process a claim.
It can take the VA as long as 18 months to finish the paperwork to put someone on the rolls for federal assistance, said Michael Psznick, the commission director.
In 2001: The commission requested $285,000 from the county for relief allowances in 2001, $10,000 more than it asked for the year before.
The money didn't last, and the commission had to come back to commissioners for $50,000 more midway through 2001.
This year, the commission estimates relief allowances will total $360,000.
The commission assisted 624 people in 2001, up from 550 the year before.