U.S. military veterans in Riverside County who want local government officials to know what resources they need to meet healthcare and other needs have until the end of this month to fill out a survey.
The Riverside County Veterans Health Survey was initiated in June, and since that time, 1,075 individuals have filled out questionnaires, according to Tom Freeman, chief policy adviser to Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, who requested that the Department of Human Resources conduct the survey.
The seven-part, 36-question form can be found at riversideveteranhealth.org/survey/ .
More than 130,000 veterans reside in Riverside County, said Freeman, who served as the county’s military affairs commissioner until his retirement in early 2015.
He helped produce the survey, along with U.S. Army veteran Dr. Carl Johnson of the nonprofit Community Translational Research Institute in Riverside. The production cost was $25,000, and all of the funds were drawn from the human resources budget, according to Freeman.
He said the collective response to the opinion poll has exceeded expectations, but officials believe there are a number of vets who have yet to participate.
“We want to make sure our veterans in Riverside County have every opportunity to see and complete the survey,” Freeman said.
The questionnaire asks whether respondents were exposed to toxic chemicals, such as Agent Orange, and what general or specific impairments they may have.
There are also questions about diet and exercise, alcohol use and whether a respondent has had mental health challenges, including feelings of depression or anxiety.
The survey endeavors to find out whether vets are utilizing GI Bill education benefits, home loan assistance and Veterans Administration health benefits. One of the sections points out that county residents are entitled to “comprehensive benefits counseling” by the county Office of Veterans Services.
Respondents can decline to answer any question with which they’re uncomfortable, and they may elect to remain anonymous.
The survey will conclude Oct. 31.