Webster Parish now has a permanent director for the Veterans Affairs Office.
Brandi White, 36, is a Veterans Assistance Counselor II, for the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, and she now sees clients from Webster Parish on a full-time basis. When she began working for the LDVA in 2015, she was covering the areas of Bossier, Jonesboro, Homer,
Springhill and Minden. Now she handles just Minden and Springhill.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy, White served in 2001 through about half of 2002. Discharged with an administrative discharge, White now helps veterans like her get the benefits they need.
“We service the veterans, their dependents helping them with applications for benefits such as financial need-based benefits, compensation benefits for our veterans, disability benefits,” she said. “We also do burial and education.”
She explained they help veterans’ families get reimbursements for funeral costs. The LDVA does not pay for funeral expenses upfront, but they will reimburse the families for a portion of the costs.
“The cause of death will determine how much they are reimbursed,” she said. “Most people think we pay for the funeral, but that’s not how it works. If a veteran passes away in a car accident and there is no type of disability, they get $250. If a veteran passes away in a VA facility, they get $750. If they pass away due to a service-connected disability, they could get up to $2,000 reimbursed to the family.”
Veterans can also return to school under the GI bill if they attend college in Louisiana. She said veterans must make sure they fill out the tax exemption forms to get the money they need for school.
The VA paid for White to further her education and she graduated in May 2005 from Southern University in Shreveport with a degree in accounting and business management.
While she is on disability for a long-term medical condition, she returned to work, specifically at the VA to help people.
“I love my job because I’ve been through what they’ve been through,” she said, “and I can help them better because I understand. A lot of
times you have people in this job that have never been through the storm with the VA program. But because I’ve been through the storm and I’m still going through it, I’m able to help other people overcome the storm.”
White lives in Minden and is from Haynesville.
The Webster Parish Veterans Affairs Office is located at the American Legion Hall at 119 Pine St.