Most Michiganders think the state doesn’t give returning veterans adequate services, according to a recent poll from Michigan Radio and Public Sector Consultants. According to the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA), however, the problem is not a lack of services, but a lack of awareness.
The two-year-old agency was established by Gov. Rick Snyder in response to Michigan’s abysmal ranking in 2013 — 46th in the nation — in U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) spending per veteran. Veterans benefits can include everything from health care and monthly disability checks to life insurance, home loans and college or vocational training scholarships.
But hundreds of thousands of Michigan veterans still aren’t taking advantage of those services. According to The Detroit News, “Only 22 percent of Michigan’s estimated 660,800 veterans used their health benefits from the U.S. Veterans Administration in 2013 — the most recent year for which data is available.”
And Jeff Barnes, director of the MVAA, believes changing the public perception of services is imperative to connecting more veterans with the help they need.