New Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency established

-In his recent State of the State message Governor Snyder introduced the ‘Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency’ housed within the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The MVAA will be dedicated to improving service and benefit allocation to deserving Michigan Veterans and is a significant step in addressing the needs of veterans, recognizing that a ‘one door’ approach to accessing state and federal benefits and programs is needed to better assist transitioning veterans post-deployment.

“The agency will focus efforts and connect Veterans with the benefits they’ve earned,” said Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard and Director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “I look forward to targeted public awareness campaigns and communication efforts that the MVAA will initiate.”

 

Michigan has more than 650,000 veterans with over 500,000 of them wartime vets. Depending on drawdown, we expect Michigan’s veteran population to increase by 8,000-10,000 per year. Under the current system, benefits and services to Michigan Veterans are housed federally in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and in 15 State of Michigan Departments creating multiple entry points and confusion for veterans seeking assistance.

 

MVAA will focus on increasing awareness of veterans’ benefits and services, improving the state’s customer service delivery model, increasing efficiency and fostering collaboration between federal, state and local partners. With the recent accreditation of Michigan’s Veterans Affairs Directorate by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and a strong partnership with Veteran Service Officers and County Veteran Counselors, the agency will improve customer service by creating coordinated entry points to veterans’ benefits and expanding veterans’ access to services in every Michigan County. Coordination of services and additional resources will help Michigan increase the rate of federal VA benefit utilization; hopefully moving up in the number of veterans who take advantage of VA benefits.

 

The full text of EO 2013-2 may be read online at www.michigan.gov/snyder. Its effective date is March 20, which is the 10th anniversary of the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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