Page 2 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - July 2016 - 23-07
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Page 2 Senior Times - July 2016
TO OUR MILITARY, THANK YOU! By: Sherii Sherban, Publisher
I have to admit that I revere the many men and women that have served, and continue to serve, through the armed forces. As they work diligently to protect the freedoms that we hold dear, and in many cases take for granted, we must always remember to say, “Thank you.” Some
may have only served a short time whereas others have committed a lifetime to service, the moment where ‘service above self’
is put to the test, the day they signed the bottom line, gleans such respect from me that often I sense a lump in my throat.
Locally, we are fortunate to have a program that helps Veterans, and their families, get the benefits and services they may be eligible for, the Calhoun County Veterans’ Affairs office.
Their staff works hard to provide assistance specific to four areas:
1. Federal benefits and programs 2. Emergency assistance benefits 3. County burial benefits
4. Competent advocacy
Federal Benefits and Programs
First, the office serves as a medium between the Veteran and the federal benefits he/she may be due. For example, the staff must continually research changes in federal laws pertaining to Veterans benefits and eligibility. Moreover, the
staff must also research precedent decisions rendered by federal appeals courts adjudicating Veterans claims. Knowledge of the Code of Federal Regulations 38 is vital to the success of a Veteran’s claim. Because the Department of Veterans Affairs requires that each claim be substantiated by applicable evidence, our office assumes the responsibility for evidence gathering which, in some instances, may date back 50 years.
Effective advocacy with regards to federal claims and benefits must incorporate
a willingness to actively investigate, interpret, and incorporate those applicable rules and regulations that may have a bearing on a Veteran’s claim. As a result, given the financial and emotional stakes associated with federal claims, there is
a dedication to the understanding of the claims process that must ensue before an advocate can effectively counsel a Veteran.
Emergency Relief
The Calhoun County Veterans
Affairs office is the host for the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund. This state driven fund is unique in that Michigan is the only state in the union to have such a program. The purpose of the fund is to provide emergency assistance to Veterans and their families
in the event of unforeseen hardship. The most apparent hurdle in eligibility is that the Veteran must have at least 180 days
of wartime or wartime era service. Those Veterans who do not meet this criteria are, then, referred to the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Relief Fund. This county driven fund rests on the same premise as the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund, but, by law, requires only one day of wartime or wartime era service or have been awarded a military expeditionary medal. Neither program is intended to sustain a Veteran’ s lifestyle and should be used as a last resort.
County Burial Benefits
To be eligible for county funded
burial allowances, the Veteran must have served in a war or during a defined wartime period. Whether the Veteran was single
or married at the time of death, then he/
she must not have been worth more than $40,000 in assets excluding the value of the home. The most important hurdle
for burial eligibility is the Veteran and/
or spouse must have been a resident of Calhoun County for a period of six months. This program offsets some of the cost of
a funeral including a headstone setting reimbursement of $65. To be eligible for this program, the Veteran must be buried at a private cemetery and must have incurred the cost of setting a headstone or marker.
Competent advocacy may be fourth
on the list but is an element of each component. When a Veteran comes to the office, they should expect knowledgeable, honest input or counseling provided in a cooperative manner that places Veterans services as the highest priority. Whether the Veteran simply wants information regarding the nearest homeless shelter or if the Veteran wants to initiate a compensation claim, the staff must understand no Veterans benefit is more important than that benefit being asked for at that time. Effective advocacy must incorporate a willingness to cross various coordinates of diversity and educational levels. From the Veteran who needs assistance filing a claim to the widow
who just lost her husband, their ability
to communicate determines their ability
to be effective Veterans advocates.
The Calhoun County Veterans’ Affairs office is located in the Toeller Building at 190 E. Michigan Ave, Ste. 397B, Battle Creek, MI, 49014. They are open Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm.
For assistance call (269) 969-6735.
on Nature”
Art Exhibit
Art Center of Battle Creek
265 East Emmett
Exhibit will be on display August 3-20, 2016
Opening reception: August 4, 2016 from 5-7pm
The exhibit will display artwork created by residents from all three Ganton Senior Communities and will include a stand alone mural and quilt made with clothing from residents residing at Reflections Memory Care. This exhibit is part of a month long campaign creating awareness around Alzheimer's disease.
For more information, visit,

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