Many veterans never seek benefits earned 2013.06.05

Written by David Green.

In the past fiscal year ending Sept 30, more than $35 million came into Lenawee County to benefit veterans through the Veterans Administration. More than $2.7 billion was given to veterans throughout the state.

"There are so many benefits, but veterans don't ask," said Jerry Bach of Morenci, a member of the Lenawee County Department of Veterans Affairs executive committee. "Many don't apply that have money coming, especially disabled veterans.

Bach, a World War II veteran, joined the county executive committee 19 years ago.

In the past year, veterans and their families received $16.9 million in disability compensation, DIC death compensation, and veteran's pension and death pension benefits.

About $2.3 million went toward educational and vocational rehabilitation benefits; $15.4 million for medical care; and $298,000 for insurance and indemnities.

An estimated 7,685 veterans reside in Lenawee County, and 680,000 in the state.

About half of the funds go directly to veterans and their families. The remaining money supports Veterans Administration medical services and health care.

Bach said a van is available daily for veterans to travel to the VA hospital in Ann Arbor.

The county Veterans Affairs office is located at 1040 S. Winter St, Ste. 3017, in Adrian. An appointment is required for most services. Fall 517/264-5335 for information or call the Veterans Administration directly at 800/827-1000.

The Michigan House approved last week a state budget that includes an additional $8.6 million to create a state veterans affairs agency to better assist Michigan veterans, state Rep. Nancy Jenkins announced.

Jenkins, chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military and Veterans Affairs, spoke on the House floor about the special funding, which also includes $600,000 for Veterans Service Organizations to better connect veterans with benefits.

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