DMVA partnering with U of M to raise Veteran benefit awarness

The Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is partnering with the University of Michigan to raise awareness about the many benefits and opportunities available for Veterans through friends and family of the university. 

Michigan is 11th in the nation in veteran population but 53rd in the nation for treatment and services for veterans. The DMVA and other Veterans organizations recognize that this ratio needs to change! The DMVA began an intense, statewide knowledge campaign earlier this year and will continue to closely monitor service numbers to do all we can to improve Michigan’s current, last-place status.

Michigan is below the national median as it relates to compensation and pension, construction, education and vocational rehabilitation, and medical support. We believe this may be, in part, due to Veterans not knowing what benefits they are eligible for.  For example, in 2009 only 17.29% utilized VA medical services. These services are at no cost to the Veteran and should be used at a much, much higher rate. We will strive to find new ways of getting benefit information to Michigan Veterans.

There are some challenges that must be creatively solved in order to connect Veterans with benefits and employment opportunities. Consider:

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that 7.5% of Michigan’s total homeless population are Veterans.

The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics found that unemployment rate is roughly 30% for Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Retraining and skills workshops, coupled with job fairs and community outreach are ways we hope to lower this number in Michigan.

Michigan DMVA is conducting public outreach to Veterans and their families to inform them of changes to benefits and connect them to Veteran counselors across the state. Veteran counselors can assist in determining eligibility for a variety of programs.

Saturday’s game will allow us to connect two proud traditions: Service to our nation and Michigan football to benefit those who have served and continue to serve.  In honor of this partnership, the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard is proud to provide the ceremonial game ball which deployed with them to Afghanistan.  The unit is on their 6th tour and will be proudly serving our nation and representing Michigan during the next 6 months in Afghanistan.

For those Veterans who can’t make the game, we encourage you to sign up for the benefits you have earned at your local VFW, American Legion, AMVETS, or online at Michigan.gov/veterans.

Veterans seeking employment can call the Veteran’s Employment Services Information Hotline at
1-800-455-5228 or visit  www.veteranemployment.com or other Veterans placement Web sites.

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