Veterans of World War Ii, Korea and Vietnam are confronting new financial, health and mental health issues. Here's how they can get free help!

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Are you or veteran of World War II, Korea or Vietnam, or do you know a veteran from those eras?

About 84 percent of all of New York State's million-plus veterans (there are 175,000 in Nassau and Suffolk) served during WWII, Korea or Vietnam and many have done well over the years. Now, as a result of the economic downturn, some veterans are finding themselves in needs of benefits for the first time.

Moreover, for some older veterans new of such events as 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have triggered painful memories.

But there's help available for America's heroes. "There are many benefits and services available to meet needs of older veterans," says John Javis, director of special project at the Mental Health Association of Nassau County, which along with the Long Island State Veterans Home in Stony Brook are offering assistance.

Assistance offered includes "Aid and Attendance," a need-based pension benefit for low-income veterans (with at lease 90 days of "wartime service") who are disabled and require the regular attendance of another person to assist in bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medication monitoring or other activities of daily living.

In addition, the New York State Veterans Homes serves qualified, honorably discharged veterans who require skilled nursing care, regardless of period of service. The homes also are available to spouses, un-remarried surviving spouses and gold-star parents. Adult day health care also is available for those with physical or cognitive impairments and includes transportation, meals, hygienic assistance and medical care.

"There is help, there are benefits and there are answers," said Javis. "These men and women served our country and have earned them."

If you belong to an organization that would like to have a speaker discuss these issues, contact the Mental Health Association of Nassau County at (516) 489-2322 to schedule a presentation.

For information regarding the needs of older veterans call the Long Island State Veterans Home at (631) 261-4400, or call the Mental Health Association of Nassau County (516) 504-HELP.