Creation of a Veterans Service Officer was made under the provisions of 1925 Session Laws Ch. 84; creation of Arizona Veterans’ Service Commission by the provisions of 1951 Session Laws Ch. 107; creation of separate Department of Veterans’ Affairs via 1999 Session Laws Ch. 164 §11. Current authority is found in A.R.S. §§ 41-601 to 41-611.
The Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services provides direct services to veterans through the administration of 19 Veterans Benefits Offices throughout the state to help veterans connect with their VA benefits. Two skilled nursing Veteran Home facilities in Phoenix and Tucson provide short and long term care. There is one Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery in Sierra Vista with additional cemeteries planned in Northern Arizona and Marana. A Fiduciary provides conservator and guardian services for incapacitated veterans.Inaddition, the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services provides critical, state-wide coordination and technical assistance to services and organizations serving veterans. This includes activities such as coordinating services across private and public sectors in serving targeted populations such as veterans experiencing homelessness and women veterans, as well as building community capacity to address veteran employment and higher education.
Arizona has provided services to Arizona veterans since 1925, when it created the position of Veterans’ Service Officer to represent honorably discharged veterans or their survivors and secure any claims or benefits to which the veteran was entitled. This position was abolished in 1951 by Laws 1951, Chapter 107 and replaced by the five-member Arizona Veterans’ Service Commission. The Commission was authorized to appoint the Director of Veterans’ Affairs. In 1973 (Laws 1972, Chapter 142) the Commission was integrated into the Department of Economic Security. Primarily at the request of various Veterans’ organizations, the Governor reestablished the Commission as a separate agency in 1982. In 1999, the Legislature separated the Commission from the agency by making the Commission an advisory body and creating a separate Department of Veterans’ Services headed by a governor-appointed director.