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State Emergency Aid Available to Michigan Veterans

By Zaneta Adams, Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Director

State Emergency Aid Available to Veterans through the MVAA. Struggling veterans in many counties across Michigan are able to put food on the table, make essential housing and vehicle repairs and pay medical bills thanks to the County Veteran Service Fund Emergency Relief (CVSF-ER) effort launched by the MVAA during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the state’s coordinating agency for Michigan’s more than 550,000 veterans and their families, the MVAA facilitates $6.4 million in CVSF state-appropriated grants to County Veterans Service Offices

The emergency aid was made available to counties that were previously approved for CVSF grants but wanted to amend the grants to offer emergency relief directly to veterans. Some counties were slated to spend CVSF grants on veteran outreach and activities but were unable due to pandemic restrictions. The emergency relief was also available to counties that either did not qualify or chose not to apply for CVSF grants previously.

The State Emergency Aid Available to Veterans as an emergency relief effort gained considerable traction, with nearly 30 Michigan counties participating to the tune of $1.3 million. The CVSF-ER grants, determined by each county’s veteran population, ranged from $6,000 in Wexford County (with 2,500 veterans) to $519,736 in Wayne County (with 83,400 veterans).

Eligible veterans from all eras – both wartime and peacetime – in participating counties can use the money to make home and vehicle repairs, pay medical expenses, and meet other needs determined emergent. As part of the effort, the MVAA also teamed up with Meijer to provide grocery vouchers to veterans in participating counties.

While the emergency assistance is helping veterans hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, it also applied to emergent needs stemming from the central Michigan flooding in May. Both Midland and Gladwin counties, which were devastated by flooding, applied for and were approved for CVSF-ER grants.

As Gov. Whitmer said in helping announce the CVSF-ER effort: “The State of Michigan is committed to supporting our veterans and their families during these challenging times and every day throughout the year. These brave men and women put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms and we will continue serving them as they served us.”

Indeed, for those counties that opted in, veterans of all eras could take advantage of emergency funding opportunities while also becoming more familiar with resources that are available to them and their families. No matter which era they served in, they deserve support when they need it the most, especially during these trying and uncertain times.

For more information about emergency funding opportunities and all other benefits and services available to veterans, contact the MVAA’s Veteran Resource Service Center at 1-800-MICH-VET (1-800-642-4838).

Read about other resources available to Michigan veterans here.

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July Director’s Update

In this July Director’s Update, I truly hope everyone has been staying safe through all the COVID-19 protocols.  Our office opened back up full-time on June 15th.  Our staff, like so many others, experienced a lack of personal interactions with clients.  Each of us thrives by helping other veterans and their dependents at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit those already struggling from mental health issues with a deeper level of anxiety, stress, or depression.  While most veterans feel more comfortable around other veterans as we have a sense of what they have been through, the COVID-19 isolations have kept people at home where they are forced to deal with their demons alone.  I hope that if you are struggling you will utilize some of the resources shared within this issue.

Here are some updates pertaining to our current situation.

Benefit Update

COVID-ER Financial Assistance

In response to the high number of people out of work and suffering financial distress, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) created the County Veteran Service Fund Emergency Relief (CVSF-ER) grant.  This grant is to help pay for home repairs, medical expenses, buy groceries and personal care items, and other needs determined emergent.  The MVAA also partnered with Meijer to provide grocery vouchers to veterans.  Vouchers of $50 or $100 are used to purchase food, paper products, laundry, and household cleaning products, health and beauty care items, and pet foods.  

Check with your local Veterans Affairs office to see how you can receive CVSF-ER grant money to assist you in meeting your needs.   

Mental Health Counseling 

Those struggling with mental health and the high costs of counseling, there might be an alternative if you served in any combat zone and received a military campaign ribbon (Vietnam, Southwest Asia, OEF, OIF, etc.) then both you and your family are eligible for Vet Center services. 

VA Vet Centers offer a wide range of psychosocial services to eligible Veterans, Servicemembers, and their families in the effort to make a successful transition from military to civilian life.  They include:

  • Individual and group counseling for Veterans, Servicemembers, and their families
  • Family counseling for military-related issues
  • Bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death
  • Military sexual trauma counseling and referral
  • Outreach and education including PDHRA, community events, etc.
  • Substance abuse assessment and referral
  • Employment assessment & referral
  • VBA benefits explanation and referral
  • Screening & referral for medical issues including TBI, depression, etc

The Colonel Dema T. Craw VA Clinic located in Traverse City at 701 US Hwy 31 South is one of many clinics across the state that offers Mental Health services including medication management, individual and group counseling such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There is no requirement to be a combat veteran, but you must be enrolled in VA healthcare to utilize services at any VA Clinics.

For more information on these or other benefits updates, visit or call your local Department of Veterans Affairs office.

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