The Argus-Press

Officials say veterans can find a variety of aid through county

Posted: Thursday, November 11, 2010 1:30 pm | Updated: 10:18 am, Thu Dec 2, 2010.

SHIAWASSEE COUNTY — While many restaurants and businesses are offering special promotions or free meals to veterans this week in honor of Veteran’s Day, the Shiawassee County Veterans Affairs Committee wants veterans to be aware that special assistance is available to them year-round.

“It is a shame that in these tough times many veterans are suffering both financially and physically when help is available to them,” the five-member Veterans Affairs Committee wrote in a recent letter to The Argus-Press.

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  • Concerned Veteran posted at 12:57 am on Fri, Nov 12, 2010.

    Concerned Veteran Posts: 16

    Well, most of this article is true. After serving on the committee for almost a year, you would think that the chairman and current members would know what they're talking about.

    First off, not ALL veterans qualify for burial assistance. The income restriction, which is currently that you have to have an estate of less than $40,000, is set by the state, not the county. And they can choose from 1 or 2 programs? Another not so true statement. There is a county benefit and there is also a federal burial benefit. Both have eligibility criteria, but you don't have to choose one or the other. If you qualify for both, you can get both. And not all veterans qualify for a headstone either. The veteran had to have passed away after November 1, 1990 to be eligible. A small detail, but a detail none the less.

    And training for the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund agent is provided by the state at no expense to the county. The VA Committee does not have a say as to if she receives the training or not. It is the annual training under the Michigan Association of County Veterans Counselors that they would not allow her to attend. If neither one of them receives that training, they will not be able to counsel veterans or provide any assistance in filing for federal benefits, as they have to be certified through one of the many veterans organizations.

    I am thoroughly disgusted that the VA Committee put income restrictions on the emergency assistance fund. I guess that only veterans that make less than $41,000 a year are affected by the economy.

    I would hate to have to be the one to inform a family that they don't qualify for assistance because they make too much money. Maybe the VA Committee should start making those telephone calls. I encourage ANY veteran who was denied assistance to come to a VA Committee meeting and ask for an explanation in person. If you appeal the decision, you can request a face to face meeting. I'm sure this income restriction was suggested by the Board of Commissioners. Just another way for them to circumvent the law and have control of that money.

     
  • Les Schneider posted at 9:48 pm on Thu, Nov 11, 2010.

    Les Schneider Posts: 43

    As usual Elders, doesnt know what he is talking about,
    All veterans qualify for a headstone or funeral assistance, this has always been.
    All veterans also qualify for free rides to and from VA. this was setup prior to their purge.
    Emergency assistance PA 214 Millage, was never restricted until they took office.
    income of less than about $41,000. Another restriction when they took office.
    some have expressed concern about confidentiality. They sould still be very concerned, Elders isn't explaining that their new numbering system is for office use only! That when the vouchers go to the county clerk, they still have the veterans names and information on them, This is the same county clerk that released the names to the BOC and they releasede the last two times that the veterans privacy was violated under the Privacy Act of 1974,
    Emergency assistance is available through the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund, Which is not controled by the County VA or the Commissioners. It is a State fund, not county, The new VA Secretary, While appointed as Agent for this fund , was never trained, to do this, Elders said the county will not pay for her training,
    My point is that like the BOC, only a small portion of the truth is being told by them, but what do you expect, when 3 of the 5 VA committee members are politically appointed! I am hoping that the newly elected Commissioners, from districts 3,6, and 7 can straighten this and other problems out.

     
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