Washington County offers a wide variety of programs

by: BARBARA SHERMAN - SHE'S GOT THE ANSWERS - Following Kimberly Douthit's talk at the Royal Villas Clubhouse on Nov. 23 about services available to veterans, seniors and the disabled through Washington County, she answers questions from resident Bill Weaver.Washington County's veterans' services coordinator Kimberly Douthit brought a wealth of information to a group of seniors at Royal Villas when she was the featured speaker at its Nov. 23 breakfast in the Clubhouse.

The Washington County Department of Disability, Aging and Veteran Services has a staff or five that offers a wide variety of programs and services, according to Douthit.

"I assist veterans in applying for veterans services," Douthit said. "Not everyone knows about the services that we offer so they can be losing out on benefits. There are both federal perks and Oregon perks.

"We see folks in our (Hillsboro) office, or we can come to you. Veterans are eligible for services even if they didn't serve overseas or in a war zone, and there are benefits for surviving spouses."

According to Douthit, one of the most common issues they deal with is hearing loss.

"If the hearing loss is service-related, veterans can get their hearing tested and get hearing aids for the rest of their lives," she said. "Veterans who have been exposed to chemicals like Agent Orange in Vietnam or were injured or lost a limb or got bad dental work while in the service can all receive benefits. I would encourage all of you to get screened in Washington County."

Mental health conditions that arise from serving in the military also are covered, and one service is a 24-hour suicide hotline with counselors on duty to help (1-800-273-8255 or 273-TALK - veterans should press 1.).

As for most claims, "anyone with over a 10 percent injury will be compensated," Douthit said. "If you are already getting a pension, you can get concurrent benefits and get disability too.

"I try to know all the information, and we do our very best to help veterans get compensation."

Federal benefits include connecting veterans with improved disability pensions, disability compensation, education through the GI Bill and vocational rehabilitation, and the Veterans Administration healthcare system.

Federal benefits also connect dependents of veterans with widows' pensions, dependency and indemnity compensation, dependents' educational assistance, and the Civilian Health & Medical Program.

Other benefits include providing burials and headstones, flags, presidential memorial certificates, and benefits counseling.

Washington County also can help access state benefits through the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs with its home loan programs, educational programs, conservatorship program and veterans nursing home (Oregon Veterans Home).

Other state/county benefits include the veterans property-tax exemption program, disabled veterans license plates, veterans employment assistance, game licenses, veterans preference in public employment, re-employment rights and vital records.

After Douthit asked those in the audience, "How many of you even knew we existed?" only a few hands went up.

"We want you to call and get screened," she said.

Washington County Disability, Aging and Veteran Services is located at 180 E. Main St., Suite 226, Hillsboro 97123; the mailing address is 155 N. First Ave., MS 44, Hillsboro 97124.

For more information, people are invited to visit,or they may email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 1-855-673-2372.