The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency has awarded the Statewide Veterans Service Provision Grant to the Michigan Veterans Coalition with a goal of getting more Michigan veterans connected to the benefits they earned for their service.
The grant, for fiscal year 2022, totals $5.15 million. That includes a $4.25 million base grant - which was increased by the Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this year from $3.8 million - as well as $900,000 in a one-time appropriation.
The grant was awarded to the Michigan Veterans Coalition (MVC) through a competitive grant process. The MVC is comprised of representatives from four Veteran Service Organizations: American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Vietnam Veterans of America.
The grant program supports veteran-specific services provided by the coalition's Veteran Service Officers throughout the state. The program aims to increase veteran applications submitted for disability compensation and health care enrollment to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as well as to communicate information about the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund and other VA benefits, including education, employment and memorial benefits.
"Through this grant program, Veteran Service Officers can assist veterans and their families with veteran-related issues, whether that's filing a disability claim, signing up for VA health care, connecting veterans to emergency assistance or other issues," said Zaneta Adams, Director of the MVAA, the state's central coordinating agency for Michigan's 567,919 veterans. "The goal is to increase both the breadth of services provided and the number of veterans and dependents reached across Michigan."
With expanded grant program should significantly increase the number of veterans and family members throughout Michigan who are connected to local, state and federal resources and benefits.
The MVC will pursue this goal through existing or enhanced Veteran Service Officer operations, such as a mobile service van that's being deployed in Region 2, which encompasses the greater Traverse City area.
Eligible applicants for the grant were Michigan Veteran Service Organizations, Michigan counties either individually or as a multi-county partnership, and Michigan tribal organizations.