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Wadena County veterans receive most VA compensation in state

Wadena County veterans receive more benefits than all other counties in the state, according to Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs data.

An average of $7,917 is spent on each veteran in Wadena County per year. Wadena County Veterans Service Officer David Anderson said he was pleased veterans in the county were receiving their fair share of money.

The total veteran population in Wadena County is 1,183 and a total of $17,704,000 is spent each year, according to the VA. Compensation and pension accounts for $9,336,485 each year.

Wadena County was 13th in medical care expenditures per veteran at $5,030 each or a total of $5,950,302.

Anderson explained that the money spent on veterans in Wadena County could be higher because some of the funding is used to offset low income levels in the area.

"For a poor county, the extra money per veteran really helps the county directly," he said.

Extra income for veterans is most likely spent locally, Anderson said.

He has been meeting with veterans in an office at the Workforce Center because of space constraints at the courthouse. While he said veterans seem to be happy with him and his services, they preferred to meet at the courthouse.

"They don't like the setup," Anderson said of his office. "I've been here just over a year and the commissioners say they'll move me back once the new annex is built but it's been tough for the veterans."

Wadena County is looking to build an annex next to the current courthouse to create additional room for departments that have become squeezed in the last several years.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561