New agency to help Mich. veterans seek benefits

Published On: Jan 19 2013 04:41:57 AM EST
LANSING, Mich. -

Michigan ranks last nationally in the amount of federal spending on benefits for veterans. A new state office hopes to change that.

Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday signed an order establishing the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. It will help connect former service personnel with government departments and service organizations that can help them apply for benefits such as health care, education and employment assistance.

Those programs are scattered among the federal Veterans Administration and 15 state departments. That can make it confusing to apply. The new office is designed to provide a one-stop-shopping model that can help navigate the bureaucracy.

Michigan has more than 650,000 veterans -- a number that rises with troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The state recently received V.A. accreditation to work directly with veterans seeking benefits.

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