A Benefits Guide: Veteran service representatives can help navigate the VA system

Group photo of staff members of the San Diego office of the County of San Diego Office of Military & Veterans Affairs. Photo by Charlie Neuman

by Anne Stokes

The VA provides benefits that help millions of veterans and their families, but navigating the federal bureaucracy can be daunting. At the San Diego Office of Military & Veterans Affairs, experienced veterans service representatives know how the system works and what it takes to get veterans and their families the benefits they’ve earned.

Many veterans just don’t know about the help that’s available to them. VSRs can determine what you’re eligible for, what documentation you need and how to get that documentation to the right place.

And it’s not just veterans: Dependents can be eligible for educational benefits, such as the Cal-Vet tuition fee waiver and Chapter 35 assistance. Surviving spouses may be eligible for Dependent and Indemnity Compensation.

VSRs can also make referrals to other service providers and connect veterans and their families with county services, housing, job training and more.

Where to find help

County of San Diego Office of Military & Veterans Affairs

5055 Ruffin Road

San Diego, CA 92123

Phone: 1-866-726-8831

Fax: 858-573-7381

Hours: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Military Veterans Resource Centers offer a one-stop-shop where veterans can get help with VA benefits and connect with other community resources.

North Inland Military & Veterans Resource Center

North Inland Military &

Veterans Resource Center

649 W. Mission Ave.

Escondido, CA 92025

Phone: 1-866-726-8831

Fax: 760-740-5571

Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

South Region Military & Veterans Resource Center

401 Mile of Cars Way, Ste 300

National City, CA 91950

Phone: 1-866-726-8831

Fax: 619-731-3357

Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

North Coastal Military & Veterans Affairs Resource Center

3708 Ocean Ranch Blvd.

Oceanside, CA 92056

Phone: 1-866-726-8831

Fax: 760-754-0740

Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At San Diego County libraries, veterans can connect with VSRs for help with paperwork and filing claims. Certain locations offer VET-CONNECT video conferencing and monthly in-person assistance.

Alpine Branch

1752 Alpine Blvd., Alpine

VET-CONNECT appointments: Thursdays, 858-694-3222

Bonita-Sunnyside Library

4375 Bonita Road, Bonita

VET-CONNECT appointments, 619-475-4642

Borrego Springs Branch

2580 Country Club Road, Borrego Springs

VSR walk-in appointments: Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

VET-CONNECT appointments, 858-694-3222

Imperial Beach Branch

810 Imperial Beach Blvd., Imperial Beach

VET-CONNECT appointments, 619-424-6981

Julian Branch

1850 Highway 78, Julian

VET-CONNECT appointments: Thursdays. 858-694-3222

Lakeside Library

12428 Woodside Ave., Lakeside

VET-CONNECT appointments, 619-443-1811

Poway Branch

13137 Poway Road, Poway

VET-CONNECT appointments: Wednesdays, 858-694-3222

Valley Center Branch

29200 Cole Grade Road, Valley Center

VET-CONNECT appointments, 760-749-1305

Forms and documentation to have:

Having the right documentation can help get your claim process started quickly. However, even if you don’t have complete records, VSRs can help you obtain them. When working with a VSR, it’s helpful to have:

 DD 214

 Marriage certificate

 Birth certificates

 Available medical records

 Military records

 Bank information (some programs may require direct deposit)