About Us

Let us help you with your VA Benefits today.

We understand the application process can be frustrating, and we are here to help you. Fill out the new registration form or contact us today!

Veronica Lira, MSW

Founder & CEO of Alternatives for Vets

Veronica Lira is a licensed independent agent of the Department of Veterans Affairs with a Master’s Degree in clinical social work from the University of Southern California. Mrs. Lira’s specialty includes having a working knowledge of the neurology of stress and trauma related to environmental factors affecting the military and Veteran community. Her experience encompasses over 16 years of experience providing direct services to the Veteran community that includes mental health services, navigating the legal concepts of disability claims, and creating models and process that improve the area of claim advocacy.

Currently Mrs. Lira designed a model that reduces workload stress for the provider and increases control and competency over the VA process. Our model is designed to increase capacity in a role that is custom to reviewing laws, rules, medical conditions, and mental health challenges and providing fast-turn around services to our Veteran community by decreasing stress overload, compassion fatigue, and counter-transference that impact the value of their client’s case. Alternatives for Veterans nonprofit created to address direct services to our Veteran community.

2018-2019 Interns and Volunteers

2018-2019 Interns and Volunteers

Alternatives For Vets believes in team effort to a successful claim.

Bottom Row Left: Leonardo Dominguez, Claims Agent Trainee

Top Row Left: Tommy Kishimoto, Intake Specialist (Volunteer)

Top Row middle: Ashlyn Brown, California State University Long Beach; Health Care Administration

Top Row Right: Tenly Ackerman, California State University Long Beach; Health Care Administration

2019-2020 Internship Year Members

2019-2020 Internship Year Members

Alternatives for Vets welcomes this school year interns and volunteers. They will often hear me say that we are working in the petri dish; this means that we are explorers in the process of Veteran advocacy. We are working on finding better models to service our Veterans and find solutions that protect provider and recipient in this journey that is rocky and troublesome, the VA claim process.

Their voice and contribution in improving our process is valuable and we honor that.

Innovation starts with the desire to venture out of the status quo, in this partnership we engage together to better serve our Veterans and their families’.


Bottow row left: Nicole Fisher, University of Southern California USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Bottom Row Right: Tenley Ackerman, California State University Long Beach, Health Care Administration. This is Tenley’s second internship at our organization.

Top Right: Vic Garcia, Volunteer/USMC Veteran

Board of Directors

Kimberly Finney

Board Member

Kimberly Finney is a board certified clinical psychologist and clinical associate professor at the USC School of Social Work. A retired U.S. Air Force officer, Finney’s final assignment was flight commander of the mental health clinic at Los Angeles Air Force Base, where she was responsible for the delivery of mental health services, family advocacy and substance abuse services to the 8,300 beneficiaries served by the clinic. During her time in the military she was one of few credentialed psychologist to prescribe psychotropic medications and has treated over 30,000 service members and their families. Today, her independent clinical practice continues to serve and treat service members and veterans who have experienced trauma while serving their country.

Patti La Place, MPA, RTC

Board Member

Patti currently holds the position of Lecturer at California State University Long Beach with the Recreation and Leisure Studies Department in the College of Health and Human Services. Prior to this position, Patti was the Mental Health Coordinator with the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies from CSULB and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Patti has worked in Mental Health for over 30 years and has been recognized for her work with the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, California Park and Recreation Society (CPRS), Recreation Therapy Section, Mental Health America, Long Beach Police Department and VA Long Beach Healthcare System. In addition, she has done numerous presentations for CPRS, City or Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, Long Beach Police Department, Long Beach City College and other special interest groups in the greater Long Beach area. She is currently serves on the Board of Directors for both Mental Health America and Alternatives For Vets as well as a community volunteer for various non-profit and advocacy organizations.

"I have had other representatives in the past and they have all done the bare minimum and put little to no effort in assisting me. Veronica took the time and put in lots of effort in building a strong..."

Z.I. - San Diego, CA

"My VA claim has been on my mind since I’ve been out of the military. I cannot express how much appreciation I have for you and your invaluable skills. You helped me every step of the way. You did not..."

C.P. Long Beach, CA

"I am a widow, and I am so thankful to Veronica and her team for their assistance in this matter. This award will make all the difference in my life going forward. Veronica also helped my husband with..."

Ginger Combs

Our Partners

Contact Us

Main Office:

P.O. Box 1267
Lakewood, CA 90714

  • info@alternativesforvets.org
  • (562) 461-1516

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 1267
Lakewood, CA 90714

Hours of Operation

9:00am - 5:00pm

Best Time to reach a Clerk by phone
Monday - Wednesday
9:00am - 3:00pm.

If you call and clerks are busy, please leave a detailed message, and we will return your call within 24 hours.

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