Many vets not taking advantage of benefits
Did you know that Michigan’s veteran population ranks 11th in the nation (about 700,000 veterans) according to the state’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, but is ranked last when it comes to veterans’ affairs funding on a per capita basis? Last year, Michigan only received $2.2 billion from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, resulting in $3,409 per capita. The national average is $4,894.11 per capita. This is because many veterans do not know what benefits are available to them.
The Kent County Department of Veterans’ Affairs is working on an outreach campaign to help the men and women who served during Vietnam know what assistance they can receive. Kent County is home to nearly 37,000 veterans, and most of them served during the Vietnam era.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has connected certain diseases to qualifying military service. These “presumptive diseases” include prostate cancer, lung and other respiratory cancers, Parkinson’s Disease, Hodkgkins Disease, Ischemic Heart Disease and others. Those veterans exposed to Agent Orange (or their widows) may be eligible for benefits from the federal government.
The Kent County Veterans Affairs Office can assist veterans and their spouses in finding information and resources. Call the office of Kent County Veterans Affairs at (616) 632-5727.