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Helping Michigan's veterans get the benefits they've earned

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio
The U.S. flag is flanked by the flags of the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the POW-MIA flag

This Veterans Day, Michigan has the dubious distinction of having its military veterans among those receiving the least government benefits of any in the 50 states.

Michigan’s more than 650 thousand veterans get about $3,400 on average in benefits compared with a national average of nearly five thousand dollars a year.   

Governor Snyder created a new state officeto assist Michigan vets in getting the benefits they’ve earned.

“Michigan’s veterans earned and deserve the best possible support and we need to make sure that they can get it,” Snyder said. “With our state’s recent accreditation by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and with a new agency solely dedicated to their needs, veterans will experience more efficient and effective delivery of services and support.”

State Representative Dave Knezek is an Iraq War vet. He credits the governor with taking an important step, but he says more is needed.

“There needs to be some sort of framework….from when you step off that plane, what is Michigan doing to identify our returning veterans and get them tied into the benefits or the support systems that we need for them to make a smooth transition,” says Knezek.   “While we understand that a lot of these problems are occurring at the federal level, we think that opens up the opportunity for Michigan to really raise its profile as a veteran’s friendly state by enacting some pretty common sense measures.”

State House Democrats highlighted a series of bills last week intended to help Michigan veterans get the government benefits for which they are eligible.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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