Veterans have new option for rides

BLUE EARTH – David Hanson, Veterans Service Officer for Faribault County, has found another way to help.

County commissioners recently accepted a federal grant to utilize Ride Link, a service through the Minnesota Department of Transportation that connects veterans, military families and their caregivers to a single source of information about rides and transportation options.

The grant doesn’t include a dollar amount. What the county will get is two computers with software.

“Hopefully, we can quickly connect veterans to information they need to schedule a ride,” Hanson said.

The system is another tool Hanson’s office can use to reach out to veterans, their families and caregivers.

“Veterans worried about Medicare or disability, we can transfer calls, chat, share documents,” he said.

“We can guide them in the right direction, whether it’s a ride, retirement questions, whatever they need assistance with,” Hanson said, even “questions on how do I apply for my deceased dad’s medals.”

For Vietnam veterans facing retirement, some might want to continue working and have questions about Medicare, how to apply for it, or be unaware of rules that affect benefits.

“At 65, you have a six-month window,” Hanson said. “Every month you miss, you get penalized; you pay a higher rate. Some are so high, I thought that’s a shame.”

Securing the grant is a big help.

“I’m glad we found the grant and took advantage of it,” he said.

The grant was offered to 28 counties in southwestern Minnesota as part of a pilot program.

“It’s kind of experimental,” Hanson said. “Hopefully, everything works out well.”

Hanson expects the system to be up and running in March.

For more information or help, call the Veterans Service Office at (507)?526-6268.