5 questions with Placer County Veteran Services Officer Derrick Oliveira

Published on Nov. 10, 2021

Veterans Day is a time to honor and thank the great women and men who have served in the military, protecting our great nation. 

There are approximately 27,000 veterans in Placer County, and the Placer County Veteran Services Office stands ready to serve any veteran who walks through their door.

Throughout the year, the Placer County Veteran Services Office connects veterans, their dependents, and survivors to their benefits by assisting in their interactions with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and hopefully making it easier to apply for benefits like veterans health care and veterans pensions. 

Standing at the VSO’s helm is Placer County Veteran Services Officer Derrick Oliveira, who leads a dedicated team. 

Since joining Team Placer two years ago VSO has brought approximately $130 million in federal funding to Placer County veterans and averaged over $21,000 per award paid to claimants. 

Derrick took some time to share with us his experience working in Placer County and his exciting goals for the Veteran Services Office. 

Thank you for your service to our country. What does Veterans Day mean to you? 
Veterans Day is a special day when we honor and thank our veterans. As a Navy veteran, I know the importance of not only remembering veterans on Veterans Day but of serving and assisting them as well. Honoring and serving our veterans should not just be a one-day event, but should be a daily priority.

Congratulations on your two-year anniversary with Placer County. How is the experience so far?
Placer County is wonderful! I am grateful to the veteran community of Placer County for welcoming me and assisting me in serving our veterans. Additionally, the leadership at Health and Human Services has been very supportive of the Veteran Services Office. Over the past couple of years, we have been able to strengthen the VSO and expand veterans services. Additionally, the Veterans Advisory Council has expanded its membership and has played an active role in providing veterans services to our vets.

The number of veterans and family members served through the VSO is impressive, which wouldn't be possible without an amazing team. What can you share about your VSO colleagues? 
We are fortunate to have a VSO with dedicated staff members who work tirelessly on behalf of our veterans. The VSO team strives to help each veteran live the highest quality of life. VSO staff are competent in Veterans Affairs law and benefits, as well as understanding state and local benefits available to veterans and their family members.

What should people know about the Placer County Veteran Services Office? 
The Placer County Veteran Services Office continues to seek new and innovative ways to serve as many veterans as possible. During COVID-19, the VSO introduced virtual and phone appointment options, in addition to in-person appointments. These additional options allowed veterans to seek benefit counseling and apply for benefits from the comfort of their homes. 

Additionally, the VSO opened field offices in Auburn and Carnelian Bay to allow in-person options in these areas.

What are some of VSO's future goals? 
We are excited to announce that we have completed a strategic plan for the VSO. The primary goals of this plan are to promote the VSO, strengthen and expand the Veterans Advisory Council, and address specific priorities stated in the recent veterans survey completed by Placer County veterans. We also plan to expand our lobby at our Rocklin location and to have a space in the new HHS building in Auburn. Ultimately, we hope to reach out to as many veterans as possible and connect them to their earned benefits.

Derrick is very active with the Veteran Advisory Council and all the local veteran groups and he will serve as the master of ceremonies at this year’s Veterans Day parade in Auburn this year.

Veterans and any veteran's family member interested in applying for benefits are encouraged to contact the Placer County Veteran Services Office at 916-780-3290. Learn more online at https://www.placer.ca.gov/1875/Veterans.