MI adding veterans’ service counselors

About one out of every six U.P. adults is a military veteran, and the region has many sons and daughters still on active duty.

For members of the military in combat, having information is half the battle.

The same can be said for when they return from the battlefield.

Each year, the state of Michigan sees more and more returning veterans not using benefits that they’re eligible for.

Many of them are unaware either of the benefits they qualify for or how to obtain them.

The Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is trying to change all that.

“I think the issue is awareness, and it is complex,” Senior Deputy Director for Veterans Affairs Jason Allen said. “You know, when you start looking at the VOW Act, which if you have a disability rating qualifies you for extra training, it’s very complicated. So the governor and our department have been working to get more certified officers out, to make sure our veterans coming back are aware of the benefits that they earned protecting this great nation.”

There are a number of counselors available to veterans in the U.P.

The DMVA has recently placed a counselor at Northern Michigan University to help veterans who are in school.

Allen said, “These counselors are trained in helping with the process of applying for benefits, and that is a challenge. We know that the complexities of those forms and paperwork sometimes become daunting for a veteran, and so with those counselors, it helps them sort of go through the process.”

The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs plans to put six more counselors at six other universities across the state.

Michigan ranks dead last among the fifty states in the utilization of the G.I. Bill.