Michigan’s large population of vets (currently the nation’s 11th-highest population) is in contrast to the amount of federal funding spent on vet services (we come in last). Hopefully, we are seeing a tide shift in the latest initiative.
Surveys have found that a large number of Michigan’s military veterans do not receive all of the benefits to which they are entitled — disability compensation, employment help, medical treatment, pensions, and schooling — because the system to support them is not in place. That should change March 20, when the Secretary of State’s Office is partnering with the new Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency to support vets navigate the tangle of governmental bureaucracy.
Another nice gesture: A new ID card which would allow Michigan’s 680,000 veterans get discounts at stores and hotels has been introduced in a bill by lawmakers. The cards would allow the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and other service offices identify vets immediately and would support a better, more up-to-date contact database for our vets.
Last year, the federal spending on VA benefits for a Michigan vet averaged $3,900; the national average is more than $5,500. Currently fewer than 20 percent of Michigan military vet receive the benefits to which they are entitled.