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Q. Is the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) responsible for my VA federal benefits?
A. No. VA benefits are federal benefits provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs over which MVAA has no official connection or jurisdiction. However, MVAA’s Veteran Service Officers are experts on federal benefits and regularly assist Michigan veterans in applying for their federal VA benefits. In addition to meeting with a VSO, veterans are highly encouraged to register for a federal VA eBenefits account which allows virtual access to personal VA benefits earned and used. Michigan veterans should also review the benefits page of the MVAA for Michigan-specific benefits.
Q. How do I file for VA disability compensation?
A. The application for disability compensation can be completed in several ways. However, the application process is complex, and we recommend you obtain assistance from an accredited Veteran Service Officer (such as an MVAA, county or coalition VSO) to file a comprehensive, accurate claim. You may apply directly without the assistance of a Veteran Service Officer. The quickest route to do so is by registering for an eBenefits account (a comprehensive, individualized site to access your benefits and applications). Note that the application will require access to discharge or separation papers, medical evidence, and dependency records.
Q. I did not serve my country during a wartime period. Am I still considered a veteran?
A. If you served your country in uniform, for any amount of time and in any location, you are considered a veteran. Michigan veterans can qualify for numerous veteran programs and services based on their years of service, character of service, income, disability status, and other criteria. To get started in understanding what programs are available to you as a veteran please call 1-800-MICH-VET and a representative will assist you.
Q. Where can I find information regarding benefits and services for National Guard, Reserves, and Uniformed Services?
A. For direct support for National or Air Guard personnel, call 1-800-MICH-VET and select option 2. Current and former members of the Selected Reserve who served on active duty may establish veteran status and may therefore be eligible for VA benefits, depending on the length of active military service and the character of discharge or release. Members of the National Guard activated for federal service during a period of war or domestic emergency may be eligible for certain VA benefits, such as VA health care, compensation for injuries or conditions connected to that service and burial benefits. Activation for other than federal service does not qualify Guard members for all VA benefits. Title 38, Section 3.7 of the Code of Federal Regulations identifies individuals and groups considered to have performed active military, naval, or air service.
Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and New Dawn (OND) veterans: VA provides five years of free health care for veterans who served in certain combat locations during active military service, beginning on the date of separation from active duty. This benefit covers all illnesses and injuries except those clearly unrelated to active military service. For more information, call 1-877-222-8387. Every VA medical center has a team standing ready to welcome OEF/OIF/OND returning service members and to help coordinate their care.
The VA also encourages veterans and service members who believe they may have been exposed to toxins or certain vaccinations with side effects to receive a voluntary medical assessment that will help the VA track data on veterans’ health. Visit the Military Exposure Registry Examination Program website for more information.
Q. Are there state specific benefits for veterans?
A. Michigan is proud of its veterans and has worked hard to compile a wealth of resources and benefits specific to Michigan vets. They can be found at: https://www.michigan.gov/mvaa/other-benefits-and-resources/panel-state
Q: I am transitioning out of the military. What should I do now that I am a veteran?
A: Make sure you have your DD214 and connect with a Veteran Service Officer (VSO) to learn about VA benefits and programs. Reaching out to Military OneSource (https://www.militaryonesource.mil/) is also beneficial when transitioning out of the military. Another valuable resource is our WhyMi app, which includes a real-time job board and other resources for transitioning service members and is free to download from the App Store or Google Play. And, of course, you can always call us at 1-800-MICH-VET (1-800-642-4838) and one of our knowledgeable technicians can walk you through next steps as your transition out of military life.