Thursday, December 2, 2021

President Biden Signs Series of VA-Reform Measures Michigan Veterans News & Resources for Dec. 1 2021

Subject: Michigan Veterans News & Resources for Dec. 1 2021

Vietnam Veteran News

President Biden signs series of VA-reform measures

President Joe Biden signed four veteran reform bills into law on Tuesday, calling the changes part of the country's "sacred obligation" to care for military members and their families even after their service.

 

"We prepare those we send into harm's way, and care for their families when they're gone, and care for them and their families when they're home," Biden said. "That's a lifetime commitment the nation owes to every one of our veterans."

 

The first bill — the Protecting Moms Who Served Act — invests $15 million in new maternity care coordination programs at VA facilities. The move requires VA officials to address gaps in care for veteran mothers as well as studies into prenatal and postpartum health.

 

The Hire Veteran Health Heroes Act will require VA leaders to work with Defense Department officials in helping separating troops with health care skills who apply for open medical jobs in veteran hospitals.

 

The Colonel John M. McHugh Tuition Fairness for Survivors Act will guarantee that children and spouses of veterans who die from service-connected injuries will get in-state tuition rates. The change is expected to affect about 150,000 surviving dependents, potentially saving them tens of thousands in higher education expenses each year.

 

The final measure will require the Government Accountability office to investigate potential disparities in VA benefit awards based on race and ethnicity. Past studies have indicated that minorities may receive lesser benefits or face additional obstacles to disability payouts than their white peers.

 

Read more on the new veteran reform bills in Military Times.


Improving care for American Indian and Alaska Native veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Indian Health Service (IHS) have renewed a partnership to help American Indian and Alaska Native veterans overcome health care access barriers.

 

The partnership, originally established in 2003, facilitates health care access and improves patient experience, information technology, resource sharing and will now open the door for these agencies to develop a plan to achieve goals and objectives agreed upon with tribal stakeholders.

 

There are more than 140,000 American Indian and Alaska Native veterans in the United States. Michigan is home to about 3,575 American Indian and Alaska Native veterans, ranking it 13th among the 50 states for the largest population of these historically marginalized veterans.

 

Thomas Klobucar, executive director of the Veterans Health Administration's Office of Rural Health, said VA and IHS leadership engaged key tribal stakeholders during 90-day tribal consultation sessions in late 2020 and early 2021 to gain insights on how both agencies can better serve these veterans.

 

"Through these collaborative efforts," Klobucar said, "we will continue to bridge existing gaps and provide equitable care delivery to American Indian and Alaska Native veterans, and ensure they receive the high-quality care they have earned."

 

The mutual goals of this partnership include increasing access, improving quality of health care and services and facilitating enrollment and seamless navigation for eligible AI/AN veterans in VHA and IHS health care systems.

 

Read more about the partnership here.


Next veteran employment class is Dec. 7

VES logo

The next Employment Readiness Series class will cover translating military experience to the civilian workforce, negotiating salaries, networking and more.

 

Join veteran career advisor Brian Strong from 11 a.m.-noon on Dec. 7 for the free virtual presentation, which also focuses on learning the difference between civilian and federal resume writing. Register for the event here.

 

The Employment Readiness Series is sponsored by a partnership between the Michigan Veterans' Employment Services (VES) and the Michigan National Guard Family Programs. VES is part of Workforce Development within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity's Office of Employment and Training.


Veterans needed to serve as youth mentors

The Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) is seeking veterans to serve as youth mentors and help develop character and leadership skills in young adults.

 

Veterans can become a Veteran Mentor through TMF's Character Does Matter youth mentorship program and help lead positive change in their communities. TMF is dedicated to empowering veterans to share their stories – stories of real people – exemplifying strong character and leadership, and can demonstrate what it means to live TMF's "If Not Me, Then Who…" ethos, challenging youth to do the same.

 

According to TMF, nearly 84% of veterans report a sense of community as a result of being involved with the program, as well as a significant increase in their sense of thriving as their involvement increases.

 

Learn more and register to become a Veteran Mentor through Travis Manion Foundation's Spartan Development Center, a 24/7 portal where participants can access Travis Manion Foundation training courses and an extensive resource library to help make a difference in the lives of the youth in the community.


Owosso National Guard member named Warrior Citizen of the Year

Jessica Green

This week we continue recognizing our first-ever round of award winners by profiling Jessica Green, Warrior Citizen of the Year, and Katie Carroll, recipient of the MVAA and Trust Fund Exceptional Service Award. See all the recipients at michigan.gov/MVAA.

 

This past Fourth of July weekend, Jessica Green, a staff sergeant in the Michigan Air National Guard, led a team of volunteers in honoring deceased veterans at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens Cemetery in her hometown of Owosso.

 

The team uncovered headstones that had been grown over, raised headstones that had sunk and cleaned headstones so these veterans could continue to be known and remembered.

 

In her civilian life, Green recently started a new position as a department technician with the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund. Prior to that, she served as program manager for the MVAA's successful Food4Vets program, which has provided nearly $200,000 in food assistance to more than 1,900 veterans and their families across Michigan this year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

For her efforts, Green was presented with the Warrior Citizen of the Year Award, which honors an active National Guard member who demonstrates service and commitment through citizenship and volunteerism while out of uniform.

 

Green, who has served in the Guard since 2013, said she is "humbled" by the award and calls her service "a way to give back to our state and country."

 

A mother of four, Green is enrolled in a bachelor's program in human services at Baker College. She enjoys photography, hiking and outdoor adventures with her children. Green says her faith is a very important part of her life, leading her to complete a course in discipleship.


Macomb County woman goes above and beyond for veterans

Katie Carroll

In her role as the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund (MVTF) agent for Macomb County, Katie Carroll does a little bit of everything to serve veterans and their families.

 

She helps homeless veterans find housing and stability. She assists veterans with everything from food assistance to financial coaching to transportation. And she sits on the boards and committees of county-level and veteran organizations to better support veterans.

 

Carroll also works hard to make sure the process to apply for a Trust Fund grant goes as smoothly as possible. The Trust Fund is an arm of the MVAA that provides eligible veterans and their families emergency aid for an unforeseen situation causing temporary hardship. That aid may include mortgage and rent assistance or funding for home or vehicle repairs.

 

For her efforts and dedication to serving veterans, Carroll is the recipient of the first-ever MVAA and Trust Fund Exceptional Service Award.

 

"There are many counties in Michigan with agents working hard every day to ensure the Trust Fund application process is clear and smooth for our veterans who are experiencing some sort of financial hardship," she says. "I am thankful that my processes have been recognized as excellent service and I will continue to ensure veterans have a great experience with me as their agent regardless of the outcome of their application."

 

The Mount Clemens resident, who is married and has "one human child and five furry children," said she doesn't have much time for hobbies.

 

"I work two jobs, own a resale shop and go to school," Carroll says. "However, I do love to do crafts, travel and spend time with my furbabies and family."


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Thursday, November 18, 2021

New presumptives. Are you eligible?


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Veterans Benefits Administration · 810 Vermont Avenue, NW · Washington, DC 20420 · 1-800-827-1000

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

NEWS RELEASE: Treasury Provides Special Benefits to Military Members and Veterans


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 10, 2021

Contact: Ron Leix, Treasury, 517-335-2167

Treasury Provides Special Benefits to Military Members and Veterans

 Veterans Day is November 11

LANSING, Mich. – As Veterans Day approaches on Nov. 11, the state of Michigan extends its gratitude to current and former military members by reminding them of the special benefits they may be entitled to receive through the Michigan Department of Treasury.

"On Veterans Day, we honor the service and sacrifice of those who have stepped up for our country in uniform," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. "To ensure our service members and veterans have the resources they need to succeed, the State of Michigan provides scholarships and tax assistance to both current and former military members as a token of appreciation for their service. I want to thank those who are serving, have served, and will serve, and I encourage them to explore the benefits and relief we provide."

Current and former military members may be eligible to receive:

  • Military Pay Tax Exemption. Military pay is exempt from Michigan tax, including military retirement benefits and exit and separation pay.  
  • Children of Veterans Tuition Grant. This program provides undergraduate tuition assistance to the children of Michigan veterans who were totally and permanently disabled, missing in action or died while serving. Students may receive scholarship assistance for up to four academic years for a total of up to $11,200.  
  • Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption. A property tax exemption for real property used and owned as a homestead as outlined in state law. 
  • Principal Residence Exemption (PRE) for Active Duty Military PersonnelProperty owners can retain a PRE while on active duty if their property is rented or leased.  
  • Property Tax Relief during Active Military ServiceProperty owned by a serviceperson cannot be sold to pay delinquent property taxes during a tour of active duty.  
  • Summer Property Tax Deferment. A serviceperson, veteran or widow or widower whose income outside of military compensation is no more than $7,500 per year may be eligible for a summer property tax deferment.  
  • Federal Military Spouses Residency Relief Act. The spouse of an individual in the military may not be subject to the state's taxation if they are a nonresident of the state, the service member is present in the state due to military orders, the spouse is solely in the state to accompany the service member, and the spouse maintains a domicile in another state. This act was amended in December 2018 to alternately allow military spouses to elect the same state of domicile as their service member spouse, even if they are not present in that state.

"The Michigan Department of Treasury will work closely with our military members past and present to ensure they get the tax benefits and other resources they deserve," State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said. "If you have questions about any of these benefits, please contact us so we can talk about your options."

Individuals with questions about tax relief and other benefits for current and past military members should go to Michigan.gov/Treasury and click on "Contact Us." Program-specific phone numbers can be found on the "Contact Us" webpage. 

The state Treasury Department has erected a Veterans Day exhibit dedicated to Michigan's Women Veterans in the lobby of the Austin Building, 430 W. Allegan St., in Lansing. Members of the public may visit this Veterans Day tribute from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday through November.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Monday, November 8, 2021

Detroit Veterans Day Parade - November 7, 2021

 

The Detroit Veterans Day Parade was held downtown Detroit on Sunday, November 7, 2021. The event started with a ceremony with guest speakers and recognization to the Afgan war Veterans returning home. The beginning of the parade highlighted motorcycle organizations traveling up Trumbell and then to Michigan Avenue.