Veteran Expo to provide information on presumptive diseases, benefits and more

Contact: Veronica LaDuke 517-284-5298
Agency: Military and Veterans Affairs

July 24, 2014

LANSING, Mich. – Chronic B-cell Leukemia. Hodgkin’s disease. Ischemic heart disease. Prostate and respiratory cancers.

Although the Vietnam War ended more than 40 years ago, many veterans from that era still carry the war with them and are suffering today from health conditions related to exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used in support of military operations. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes certain health problems as presumptive diseases associated with that exposure, and veterans and their survivors may be eligible for benefits for these diseases.

“New research and medical advances have contributed to more than 50 changes to the benefits eligibility for Vietnam-era veterans in the last 15 years,” said Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) Director Jeff Barnes. “Veterans who haven't looked back to the VA in a number of years could be missing out on valuable benefits.”

Barnes added that anyone who has served in the U.S. military, anytime and anywhere, is eligible for some level of benefit for their service.

Vietnam-era veterans are urged to attend the U.P. Veteran Expo, Aug. 8-9 at the Superior Dome in Marquette to learn more about presumptive diseases and available state and federal benefits and resources. Hosted by MVAA, the Expo will serve as a one-stop shop where veterans from all eras can learn about employment and education opportunities, take advantage of healthcare screenings, meet with accredited benefits counselors and learn about recreation programs and other available resources. In addition, Hiring Our Heroes will host a veteran employment fair on Saturday, Aug. 9.

The Expo will be held from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Online registration is available at events.mphi.org/vetexpo.

MVAA serves as the central coordinating point, connecting those who have served in the United States Armed Services and their families, to services and benefits throughout the state of Michigan. The agency values inclusion, integrity, transparency, innovation and respect and aspires to provide the customer service experience that veterans deserve.