Veterans Benefits in Michigan
Michigan is the first state in the country to implement a regional, community-based, locally managed network of veteran services statewide. These Veterans Community Action Teams (VCATs) are located in each of Michigan's 10 Prosperity Regions, and are comprised of federal, state, local, and faith-based organizations that support veterans in the communities where they live and work. Each VCAT is lead by a Regional Coordinator and focuses on identifying solutions for gaps in services, reducing duplication of efforts, and simplifying connections with other resources. The community-based approach allows service providers to employ best practices, share information and tools, and connect more quickly with area veterans.
For senior veterans looking for longterm housing options, there are currently two Michigan State Veterans Homes, the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette, and the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. The homes provide a range of living situations based on the type of care needed, and services include recreational activities, nursing and health care, memory care, and more. Fees for admittance are income-based, and spouses or surviving spouses may also be admitted if space is available. Eligibility requirements include an other-than-dishonorable discharge, eligibility for VA care or financial need, and certain service requirements for those who served after 1981. Michigan residency is not required.
In great news for senior veterans, however, the State of Michigan is currently starting a major revamp of its veteran housing system, with plans to ultimately transition from the two larger homes to seven new, smaller ones spread across the state. These new homes will be built on the community-based model, with 10-14 veterans sharing a home-like living room, dining room, and kitchen, with separate suites. According to the Detroit News, the initiative, considered the most substantial change to the system since the first veterans home opened in Grand Rapids 131 years, is a part of a new, bipartisan state laws aimed at providing higher-quality care for more veterans. In addition to improving quality of life for the veterans, it also allows them to live closer to their hometowns and nearer to family.
Accessing quality health care is always a top concern for veterans and their families, and Michigan is home to five VA medical centers, along with numerous outpatient clinics, and community-based outpatient clinics. Services include primary health care, specialty care, in- and out-patient procedures, mental health services, female veteran services, and special support for caregivers. VA health care is available to all eligible veterans; however, veterans must apply and be accepted for coverage.
Michigan veterans experiencing emergency financial situations have several resources available to help. The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) facilitates an Emergency Assistance Program that can help with utility bills, vehicle or home repairs, medical bills or other debts. Veterans can call 800-MICH-VET (800-642-4838) or fill out and submit an Emergency Assistance Form online. At a county level, Soldier and Sailor Relief Funds may be available to assist with emergency expenses and burial costs. Veterans should contact their local county veteran services office for eligibility information.
Additionally, the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund (MVTF) is an additional option for veterans and their families during financial crisis. MVTF grants may be applied for through your local MVTF county committee, and eligible veterans may request a personal hearing before the committee when their application is being considered. Additionally, veterans may appeal to the MVTF Board of Trustees if the application is denied at the county level. The MTF was created in 1946 from $50 million in post-World War II reserve funds and has since helped veterans of every era overcome unexpected expenses and get back on their feet financially.
The MVAA maintains a veteran-support website that serves as an excellent starting point for veterans and their families looking to access benefits, find a local benefits counselor, access DD-214s, access financial help or burial benefits, keep up with veteran-related news, and more. The office can be reached at 800-MICH-VET.
To find out what veterans benefits exist in other states in the U.S. please visit our complete Veterans Benefits by State guide here.
Michigan Veterans Benefit for Assisted Living
The Aid and Attendance pension benefit is available to Michigan senior veterans and their spouses to help pay for senior care like assisted living, home care, or nursing home care. Here is more information on how the Aid and Attendance benefit helps Michigan veterans.
Written by Megan Hammons