The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) is often the starting point for veterans looking for assistance. They can connect veterans to resources, benefits and answer questions. You can find more information about MVAA and topics like emergency financial assistance, home loans, veteran justice, and more at www.michiganveterans.com. You can speak with an intake team and get connected to local resources by calling 1-800-MICH-VET.
Help Connecting to Community Resources
Veteran Community Action Teams are locally based groups that work to make it easier for veterans to connect to local resources in their communities. You can find more information about the team in your area here
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services maintains a regional network of Veteran Navigators. The purpose of Veteran Navigators is to connect veterans and their families to federal, state, and local resources and support to help with mental health, substance abuse, housing, and other common issues that impact veterans. You can find more information about the program and a map to find the navigator in your county at the following links:
Most counties in Michigan have a Veteran Support Office (VSO). Each office may have a different name. For example, the office is Kent county is called the Department of Veterans Services, while Washtenaw County has the Department of Veterans Affairs. VSOs aim to have information for veterans all in one place. These offices are part of the Michigan Association of Veterans Counselors. You can find your local VSO along with a list of benefits counselors at www.macvc.net.
There are five major Veterans Service Organizations that provide a variety of support and resources to veterans across the state. This group of organizations is called the Michigan Veterans Coalition. You can find out more about each organization and what they do, by clicking on their website below.
The websites for the five organizations are:
The Michigan Department of the Attorney General, along with the Veterans Law Clinic at the University Detroit Mercy have created a guide with information on legal services for veterans. The guide is a great way to have information on Michigan Legal Services in one place.
This is a clinic that provides legal aid to veterans within a reasonable distance of Ann Arbor. The clinic may take on cases in areas such as family law, eviction, consumer protection, foreclosure, and employment. They may also take service-related administrative cases, such as discharge upgrades. Services are free but may be limited. Cases are handled by law students supervised by attorneys. The clinic can be reached at (734) 763-2798. More information can be found at:
The Veterans Appellate Clinic specializes in helping veterans to obtain benefits for service-connected disabilities. The Veterans Appellate Clinic assists veterans with cases pending, or to be filed, and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Services are limited. You can find out more about services offered by calling (313) 596-0235.
May provide low cost assistance to veterans who have been denied disability claims. Services may also be available to active duty personnel. You can find more information about this organization and its Lawyers Serving Warriors Program
The ABA maintains a directory of programs that may offer legal assistance and information for veteran’s and military families.
There are many different types of state and federal benefits that may be available to veterans. The information below gives some information about different benefits. If you have questions about benefits, you may want to contact a Veteran Service Officer (VSO). Other benefits may be available to you.
There is a statewide network of accredited VSOs who are trained to work with veterans to help them determine their eligibility for various state and federal benefits and to provide assistance with benefits applications. This assistance is provided at no cost to the veterans. Working with a VSO is not required to apply for benefits but can be helpful in the process. You can find more information about VSOs here: https://www.michiganveterans.com/find-benefits-counselor
The National Veterans Legal Service Project has created an online app to help veterans determine what, if any, benefits they may be entitled to. Current information about the app is available here: https://www.nvlsp.org/va-app/
Disability Compensation (Federal)
One of the primary financial benefits that a disabled veteran may be eligible for is “disability compensation.” A veteran may be entitled to disability compensation if he/she has an injury or ailment that was a result of, or made worse by, military service. This benefit is often called “service-connected disability compensation.” The key to this benefit is that there must be a direct connection between the individual’s injury and his or her time in service. This compensation is available for both physical injuries and psychological injuries. Disability ratings are scaled from 0% to 100%.
Pension and Aid/Attendance (Federal)
An additional financial benefit that may be available to some of veterans is called Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Pension. The VA’s description of eligibility for the VA pension is here: https://www.va.gov/pension/eligibility/.
VA Pension is income-based; to be eligible, a veteran must have an income below a rate that is set each year by the federal government. In addition, to be eligible for a VA Pension, there are rules regarding the dates and length of service. At least one of the following must be true for the veteran:
- at least 65 years old OR
- have a permanent and total disability OR
- be a patient in a nursing home for long-term care because of a disability OR
- be getting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
VA Aid and Attendance Eligibility
If a veteran gets a VA Pension and meets at least one of the requirements listed below, he/she may be eligible for Aid and Attendance (an additional monthly payment on top of VA Pension):
- You need another person to help you perform daily activities, like bathing, feeding, and dressing, or
- You have to stay in bed—or spend a large portion of the day in bed—because of illness, or
- You are a patient in a nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability, or
- Your eyesight is limited (even with glasses or contact lenses you have only 5/200 or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less)
Housebound Benefits Eligibility
If you get a VA pension and you spend most of your time in your home because of a permanent disability (a disability that doesn’t go away), you may be eligible for this benefit.
Note: You can’t get Aid and Attendance benefits and Housebound benefits at the same time.
The MVAA facilitates a process through which a veteran experiencing a temporary financial hardship can apply for emergency financial assistance. Information about the program and an application can be found here:
The Michigan Veterans Trust Fund provides emergency grants to Michigan veterans and dependent family members to help them weather short-term financial crises. The Emergency Grant Program is intended to help veterans overcome an unplanned situation causing a temporary or short-term financial emergency or hardship that a grant will resolve and the applicant can demonstrate the ability to meet future expenses.
Each county has access to the state’s Soldier and Sailor Relief Fund. County Soldier and Sailor Relief Funds may be available to assist with emergency expenses and burial costs. The application process for these funds is managed at the county level. Veterans should reach out to their county’s Veteran Service Office for application information.