Grant program will help build, maintain county veterans service offices
State Rep. Pamela Hornberger co-sponsored legislation introduced this week providing financial incentive to encourage Michigan counties to establish and maintain veteran service offices.
Currently, 11 counties do not have a local veteran support department and many others are understaffed.
“We need to do more to connect our veterans here in Macomb County to the services and benefits they sacrificed so much to earn,” said Hornberger, of Chesterfield Township. “This legislation will make sure all military families have access to an expert in their community who can help them with benefit claims and make sure they’re getting all of the benefits they’re entitled.”
Under the bill, each county with a veteran service office that satisfies the requirements outlined in the bill will be eligible to receive a $25,000 grant, plus additional funding based on the number of veterans in the county.
In order to receive funds a county must:
- Maintain a county veteran service office;
- Have an accredited veterans benefit claims employee on staff;
- Provide at least 20 hours of service each month assisting veterans;
- Maintain the previous year’s county funding level for the veteran service office;
- Report to the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and Legislature regarding the amount of claims completed throughout the year.
House Bill 5536 was referred to the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.