Building upon a 66-year partnership with the states, the Department of Veterans Affairs has signed a formal agreement with the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA) to enhance their relationship.
"State agencies are invaluable partners in providing services to Veterans," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "Our historic collaboration with NASDVA has ensured that countless Veterans receive the benefits they have earned."
The agreement pledges the two groups to maintain "effective communications, an exchange of ideas and information, identification of emerging needs, and continuous reevaluation of existing programs."
NASDVA represents the state departments of Veterans affairs in dealings with VA and with Veterans residing in their respective states. The states fund about $5 billion in benefits and services for Veterans.
The involvement of state governments in Veterans affairs goes back to the American Revolution, with the federal government becoming involved after the Civil War. In 1946, NASDVA was created to coordinate programs between VA and the states, territories and the District of Columbia.
Secretary Shinseki signed the agreement Feb. 13 during the NASDVA mid-winter conference in Alexandria, Va.