Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Michigan Veterans News and Resources for April 20, 2021

Vietnam Veteran News

Veteran COVID vaccination clinic is April 26 in Metro Detroit

Veterans in Metro Detroit can get their COVID-19 vaccinations in Sterling Heights on April 26 in the second of several planned veteran vaccination clinics around Michigan hosted by the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA).


The clinic will run from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Lakeside Mall Drive-Thru, formerly Sears Auto, located at 14100 Lakeside Circle in Sterling Heights. Patrons will receive the Moderna vaccine and will require a follow-up appointment for the second dose.

Vaccines will be available free of charge for those who register in advance for a time slot by calling 1-800-MICH-VET (1-800-642-4838) and choosing option 6. Registration is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Veterans are encouraged to bring their DD-214 proof of service, as representatives will be on hand to help them sign up for VA health care and other benefits.


The vaccination clinics are a partnership between the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) and the Michigan National Guard, which both fall under the state DMVA, and are under the medical direction of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).


The Metro Detroit clinic will be the second vaccination clinic hosted by the DMVA, after a March 22 clinic in Marquette where 328 individuals were vaccinated.

"Our first vaccination clinic was highly successful, and we want to keep the momentum going," said MVAA Director Zaneta Adams. "There are tens of thousands of veterans and their families in Metro Detroit who deserve the highest-quality of care and access to medical benefits like the COVID vaccine. These vaccination clinics are integral in helping veterans across the state."

Sterling Heights clinic

Michigan Veteran Homes to hire 150 in Chesterfield Township

MVH logo

Michigan Veteran Homes (MVH) is looking to recruit as many as 150 employees for the new home in Chesterfield Township, which is scheduled to open to veterans on May 17.


The veterans' home, at 47901 Sugarbush Road, is seeking to fill positions for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, activity therapy aides, administrative positions and pharmacy technicians. Those interested should email DMVA-MVHCT-Careers@michigan.gov.


"We are at a critical juncture as we continue to build our team that will be providing care to the veteran members at the new Michigan Veteran Homes at Chesterfield Township," said Anne Zerbe, executive director of MVH. "We are seeking dedicated, compassionate professionals who have a true passion for serving those that we care for at the Michigan Veteran Homes."


Construction on the $76.5 million home, which is funded by state and federal money, began in April 2019. Totaling 152,000 square feet, the state-of-the-art home consists of four unique neighborhood buildings and a community center. The neighborhood buildings collectively house 128 private rooms and feature shared living and dining spaces.

Latest $1,400 stimulus checks include payments to veterans

The US government has issued a new set of $1,400 stimulus checks that includes Veterans Affairs beneficiaries. The latest round marks the fifth batch of direct payments sent since the $1,400 checks were first authorized by Congress through the American Rescue Plan in March. The new round includes approximately 2 million stimulus checks for a total of more than $3.4 billion.


This time, the checks include Veterans Affairs beneficiaries who receive compensation and pension benefits who do not normally file tax returns and who did not use the IRS non-filer tool last year. Social Security beneficiaries who also did not file tax returns for the past two years and who did not use the non-filer tool were also among the recipients.


In total, the fifth batch of payments included about 1.2 million direct deposit payments and almost 800,000 paper checks. The payments had an official payment date of April 14. However, the money could have arrived earlier for some people, as the checks began processing on April 9.


Most people do not need to do anything to get a stimulus check. However, the IRS is urging some people to file a tax return to receive the money for which they are eligible. That includes federal beneficiaries who need to submit information on any dependents who may qualify for the money, as well as people who do not normally file tax returns nor receive federal benefits.


If your income is $72,000 or less, you can file your tax return for free using the IRS Free File program. Filing a 2020 tax return will also enable you to claim a recovery rebate credit if you missed out on the previous $1,200 or $600 stimulus checks.


Read more from CNBC.

Troops exposed to Agent Orange outside of Vietnam could receive presumptive benefits

Lawmakers are pushing to expand disability benefits for veterans exposed to toxic chemicals during fighting in Vietnam while deployed to nearby countries. Pennsylvania Reps. Matt Cartwright and Brian Fitzpatrick recently introduced new legislation to expand the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange for disability benefits to veterans who served in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia during the conflict.


Veteran advocates have pushed for Congress for years to close the gap in Agent Orange benefits for individuals exposed to the chemicals in the 1960s and 1970s but never set foot on Vietnamese soil. Typically, veterans seeking disability benefits must prove that their injuries and illnesses are directly connected to their time in the military, but in conflicts like Vietnam, the chemical defoliant Agent Orange was used across the country with little clear documentation of when US troops were exposed, federal officials have made exceptions to those standards of proof.

The bill would include veterans who served in the following locations:

  1. Army Bases or Royal Thai Air Force Bases between Jan. 9, 1962 - May 7, 1975
  2. Pranburi Military Reservation in Thailand between Jan. 1, 1964 - April 30, 1964
  3. Laos between Dec. 1, 1965 - Sept. 30, 1969
  4. Kompon Cham Province in Cambodia in April 1969

Read more details from the Military Times.

VA dumps plans to stop students from adding non-degree classes to keep GI Bill benefits

Veterans Affairs officials are backtracking on plans to bar student veterans from "rounding out" their degree programs with non-required courses to maintain their GI Bill benefits, saying they'll look for other ways to ensure the system isn't being abused.


Department leaders had planned to end this practice in August, a move that could've cost some veterans thousands of dollars in tuition payouts and housing stipends, but VA Secretary Denis McDonough announced the department will no longer make the change, allowing the practice to continue. Currently for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, students receive tuition at state colleges and a monthly housing stipend if they're enrolled full-time in a degree program, however if students don't take a full course load, those payouts can shrink dramatically.


Under the move, Veteran Readiness and Employment benefits won't count against future GI Bill payouts. It's unclear how many veterans might be affected by the change because of varying course work and degree programs. More than 900,000 students used GI Bill benefits for college in fiscal 2019.


Read more about the change from Military Times.

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