About LDVA

Our Purpose

We exist for you.

The Department of Veterans Affairs aids residents of the state of Louisiana who served in the military forces of the United States during any war, combat, or special periods of service during peacetime, along with their dependents and beneficiaries, in receiving any and all benefits to which they may be entitled under the law of the United States or the states thereof. In addition, this department also provides nursing care for veterans at five homes across the state.

Our mission is clear.

Our mission is to provide comprehensive care and quality service to Louisiana’s Veterans, and their families, with regard to health care, education, disability benefits, long-term care, and burial honors.

Our staff are experts on the VA claims process. LDVA works with veterans to:
1. Identify what evidence is needed to have the best possible chance of having a claim approved.
2. Explain and clarify VA procedures that apply to the claim.
3. Monitor the claim as it progresses through the development process and intercede if problems with a claim should arise.
4. If a claim is denied by the VA and the veteran disagrees with the VA's decision, LDVA's PSOs and Claims Office will help through the appeal process. For example, LDVA can assist in preparing a proper notice of disagreement, representing the veteran at a personal hearing, etc.

Veteran with American flag in hat
Our Structure

This is where we fit in the big picture.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The federal VA offers a variety of benefits including education, compensation, pension, housing, and health care. They decide on claims and administer the allotted funds for each of these programs.

LA Department of Veterans Affairs

LDVA works with Louisiana’s veterans and their families to help them access USDVA funds. We help veterans understand potential benefits, apply for compensation, pursue denied claims, and ultimately, receive due honors. Though we cannot administer the funds that come from the federal VA, we work closely with individual vets to help them get the benefits and care they earned. Services are free and may be obtained by visiting any PSO.

Louisiana's Veterans

In 2017, LDVA connected 287,373 veterans and their families with $1.3 billion in VA compensation and pension. Let us help you and your family get benefits you deserve.

Our People

Leadership

  • John Bel Edwards

    John Bel Edwards

    Governor, State of Louisiana

    The son of a sheriff and charity hospital nurse, John Bel Edwards understood the importance of serving others from an early age. From his service as an active duty Airborne Ranger in the U.S. Army to his time in the Louisiana House of Representatives, Gov. Edwards has always put people first.

    John Bel was born seventh out of eight children to Sheriff Frank Jr. and Dora Jean Edwards. He grew up hunting and fishing in Amite, a rural town in Tangipahoa Parish. He and First Lady Donna Edwards began dating while students at Amite High School. After graduating top of his class, Gov. Edwards attended the United States Military Academy at West Point.

    As a cadet, he completed Airborne School and served as vice-chairman of the panel that enforces the West Point Honor Code. The governor graduated from West Point in 1988, commissioning as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He served on active duty for 8 years, earning Airborne, Ranger and Jumpmaster status, culminating with command of a rifle company in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

    Governor John Bel Edwards
    Photo by Marie Constantin. Download the high-res version here.
    He and the first lady married in 1989. They have three children: Samantha Bel, Sarah Ellen and John Miller.

    After commanding a parachute infantry regiment in the 82nd airborne, Gov. Edwards retired from the Army with the rank of captain. He moved back home and earned a law degree from Louisiana State University before opening a civil law practice in his hometown of Amite.

    In 2008, the people of House District 72 elected him to the Louisiana House of Representatives, where he represented the people of Amite, Greensburg, Kentwood and Hammond for eight years before being elected governor in November 2015.

    On January 11, 2016, John Bel Edwards was sworn in as the 56th Governor of Louisiana.

    In his first official act, Gov. Edwards signed an executive order to expand Medicaid coverage to 430,000 of the state’s working poor. The decision to expand Medicaid cut Louisiana’s uninsured rate from 24 percent to just 10 percent, saving lives and improving the quality of life for citizens across the state. Gov. Edwards considers this the easiest big decision he’s had to make as Governor.

    Upon taking the oath of office, Gov. Edwards inherited the largest budget deficit in Louisiana’s history, following years of budget mismanagement, which included cuts to higher education and vital state resources and services. In 2016, the state faced a $1 billion shortfall to close out the last quarter of the fiscal year. And in 2017, the state faced a $2 billion deficit in the governor’s first full fiscal year.

    Gov. Edwards and a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers worked hard to stabilize the state’s budget through a balanced approach. Today, higher education funding has been restored, the state’s gross domestic product is the highest it’s ever been and Louisiana’s budget is balanced and stable.

    One of the governor’s top priorities coming into office was comprehensive criminal justice reform. For decades, mass incarceration plagued Louisiana, and the state led the nation in incarceration rates. Gov. Edwards signed sweeping bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation in 2017 that targets recidivism and invests in treatment programs. In 2018, the state saw a 20 percent decrease in the number of people imprisoned for non-violent crimes. Under his leadership, Louisiana shed the title of the most incarcerated state in the country.

    On November 16, 2019, the people of Louisiana re-elected Gov. Edwards to another four-year term. On January 13, 2020, Gov. Edwards was sworn into his second term as the 56th Governor of Louisiana.

    Gov. Edwards continues to do what the people sent him to Baton Rouge to do: Put Louisiana First. Hundreds of thousands are insured, Louisiana’s budget is stable and Louisiana is open for business.

  • Joey Strickland, COL (USA Retired)

    Joey Strickland, COL (USA Retired)

    Secretary, LDVA

    Joey Strickland was appointed Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs by Gov. John Bel Edwards on Jan. 13, 2016. In this position, he is responsible for overseeing five veterans homes; five veterans cemeteries; 74 benefits and claims offices; 31 college and university campus veterans centers; the Military Family Assistance Fund; the Louisiana Veterans Honor Medal Program; and a myriad of outreach initiatives serving veterans service organizations, including homelessness prevention, women veterans and incarcerated veterans programs.

    His responsibilities include advocating on behalf of Louisiana’s more than 288,000 veterans and their families to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Secretary Strickland is no stranger to veterans affairs, having served under five Louisiana governors. He is currently the longest-serving state veterans affairs secretary in the nation, and has served in that position in both Louisiana and Arizona.

    At the national level, Secretary Strickland serves as chairman of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Cemeteries and Memorials. He also served as chairman of the Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee for Minority Veterans and as president of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA) from 2003-2004. As NASDVA president, he testified on behalf of veterans before the U.S. Congress.

    Secretary Strickland served 30 years active duty in the U.S. Army, including two tours of combat duty in Vietnam. In 1994, he retired as a lieutenant colonel and was later appointed colonel in the Louisiana State Guard by Gov. Mike Foster while serving on the Governor’s Military Advisory Board.

    His awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal (2nd award), Air Medal (3rd award), Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with 7 battle stars, Airborne Medal and Overseas Ribbon, among others.

    Secretary Strickland is married to Leila Hiestand Strickland, an “Army brat.” They are the proud parents of three sons, all Army soldiers, and twin daughters, one who is an educator and one who followed her father’s Army footsteps and serves in the Louisiana Army National Guard.

  • Mr. Elvin R. “Ray” Bass

    Veterans of Foreign Wars

  • Mr. Michael R. Beissinger

    At-Large Member

  • Mr. Rudolph A. "Rudy" Bourg, Sr.

    AMVETS

  • Mr. Paul Hermann, Jr.

    Disabled American Veterans

  • Ms. Sulanda V. Lonnette

    At-Large Member

  • Ms. Mary Mills

    American Legion

  • Mr. Richard O'Brien

    Military Order of the Purple Heart

  • Michael W. Russell

    At-Large Member

  • Mr. Deron G. Santiny

    Disabled American Veterans




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