Patrick Jolly is the Napa County Veterans Service Officer. He is an advocate for veteran's rights and assists in a number of areas including medical, education and death benefits.

People who served in the military (aka veterans) with a current medical or mental health condition that can be connected to their military service can have that condition “service connected” by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, The VA currently treats roughly 40,000 veterans with this disease and they estimate there are an additional 40,000 veterans who have the disease but have not been diagnosed.

A significant number of veterans living in Napa County suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The National Center for PTSD estimates roughly 30 percent of male veterans and 27 percent of female veterans have this condition.

There are so many benefits available to veterans and their dependents that go unused simply due to lack of knowledge of the benefit.

Monetary benefits may be available to the surviving spouse or dependent children of veterans. There may even be educational and health care benefits.

One of the more common disabilities among veterans is not easily seen by others, and it is rarely discussed with non-veterans. It doesn’t cause a limp, a stoop, a slump or a squint. But at its worst, it can cause a complete emotional or even physical shut down.

Veterans may be able to receive compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs if they have a physical or psychological condition that can be connected to their military service. In general, the veteran has to prove several things. However, for some veterans, the process is much simpler.

Editor’s note: This is the first column for the Register by Patrick Jolly, who will be writing once a month on veterans affairs.