Friday, April 29, 2022

Nine respiratory cancers added to list of illnesses presumed caused by burn pit smoke Fw: Michigan Veterans News & Resources for April 29, 2022

Michigan Veterans News

Nine respiratory cancers added to list of illnesses presumed caused by burn pit smoke

VA officials this week will add nine respiratory cancers to the list of illnesses presumed caused by burn pit exposure, easing the path veterans suffering from those conditions have to take to get disability benefits.

The move follows promises by administration officials last fall to speed up care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pit smoke in Iraq, Afghanistan and other overseas locations over the last 32 years.

The fires used in combat zones to dispose of waste may have caused serious illnesses in hundreds of thousands of U.S. service members.

In a statement, VA Secretary Denis McDonough called the move overdue. "Veterans who suffer from rare respiratory cancers associated with their service deserve the very best America has to offer, but they've had to wait for the care and benefits they deserve for far too long," he said. "That ends now."

The nine new conditions are: squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx; squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea; adenocarcinoma of the trachea; salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea; adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung; large cell carcinoma of the lung; salivary gland-type tumors of the lung; sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung; typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung

Read more in Military Times.

VETERAN SERVICE ORGANIZATION SPOTLIGHT: The American Legion, Department of Michigan

American Legion logo

The American Legion, Department of Michigan was chartered in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. The American Legion is committed to mentoring youth and sponsoring wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.

The American Legion is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with great political influence perpetuated by its grass-roots involvement in the legislation process from local districts to Capitol Hill. Legionnaires' sense of obligation to community, state and nation drives an honest advocacy for veterans in Lansing and in Washington. The Legion stands behind the issues most important to the nation's veterans community, backed by resolutions passed by volunteer leadership.

Michigan is home to more than 350 American Legion posts. If you have served at least one day of active military duty since Dec. 7, 1941 and were honorably discharged or if you are still serving active military duty honorably, you are eligible to join the American Legion.

For more information, visit the Michigan Legion's contact page or membership page or call (517) 371-4720.

Here are the industries where veterans are finding jobs

Veterans saw increased employment opportunities in the education and health services sector in 2021 but less hiring for professional and business services, according to new data released by the Bureau of Labor Services recently.

The research also showed a significant improvement in the overall veterans employment rate last year from 2020, when the coronavirus forced widespread business shutdowns across America, but still not a full recovery from the pandemic.

The jobless rate for all veterans in 2021 was 4.4%, down sharply from the 6.5% posted in 2020 but still above the pre-pandemic rate in 2019 of 3.1%. Since the start of 2022 that figure has dropped even further, with veterans unemployment reaching 2.4% last month.

Veterans unemployment has been a particular focus of the White House and Congress in recent years, with research showing that making a successful transition to civilian life can ease a host of potential stressors for military families.

The BLS report found that nearly one in four veterans (23%) are employed in local, state or federal government jobs, about the same rate as 2020. For comparison, only about 13% of non-veterans hold salaried government posts.

About 9% of veterans held jobs in the education and health services sector in 2021, an increase of almost 1% from 2019 levels. Manufacturing (12%) and business services jobs (10%) are the only private-sector industries with higher veteran participation.

On the other side, veterans as a group saw a significant decrease in those professional services posts (down 1.5%) and hospitality service jobs (down 1%, to about 3% of all veteran jobs) over the last two years.

Read more in Military Times.


In Michigan, several state departments are hiring law enforcement officers and encouraging veterans to apply. They include the Michigan State Police and the Departments of Corrections and Natural Resources.

 Learn more about State Police job requirements, recruiting events and more.

 Learn more about Department of Natural Resources jobs.

 Learn more about Department of Corrections jobs.


For veterans seeking employment assistance in Michigan, Veterans' Employment Services (VES) provides program-specific services with eligibility requirements as defined by federal law. 

VES provides many services. Those include resource information focusing on the needs of eligible veterans and spouses unable to obtain employment through Michigan Works! Service Centers along with one-on-one career services designed to reduce barriers into the workforce. 

Contact the nearest Michigan Works! Service Center by calling 800-285-WORKS (9675) or visiting

Register today and start your job search at

Protect your benefits: Beat pension poachers to the punch

Have you received a suspicious call from an organization claiming to represent or have affiliation with VA? Did the caller guarantee a lucrative payout for your disability compensation or pension claim for a "small fee?"

If so, you may be a target of a scam. Recently, VA has seen an increase of fraudsters and non-accredited representatives who are targeting the pension benefits of elderly veterans, their dependents and survivors.

VA is committed to defeating fraudsters by educating elderly veterans, their families, and all partners about the types of fraudulent tactics being used against them, including Pension Poaching.

To avoid being a victim, here are some tips to remember when protecting yourself from fraud:

  • Be suspicious if someone offers to shift your assets around to qualify for VA pension. You may be required to repay benefits to the government.
  • NEVER share eBenefits, or other VA login credentials with anyone.
  • DO NOT deposit VA benefits directly into a third-party bank account unless the person is court appointed or a VA accredited fiduciary.
  • Remember, VA does not charge for processing a claim or request a processing fee. Use VA accredited organizations to help file your claim.
  • VA does not threaten or take adverse actions such as jail or lawsuits on claimants. If in doubt, call VA directly at 1-800-827-1000.

Read more in VA's VAntage Point blog.

State-run Veteran Navigators program supports Michigan veterans and families free of charge

Walking with warriors

Veteran Navigators was created to assist veterans and military families of all eras and discharge types. They work to connect veterans and their families to federal, state and local resources to ease issues regarding mental health, substance abuse, housing and other common issues that impact veterans in order to support healthier lifestyles and provide support.

Offered through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Veteran Navigator services are free of charge.

Veteran Navigators service different parts of the state. Find your local Veteran Navigator.
If the map is nonresponsive, choose your county from the corresponding list.

Climate change is running the National Guard ragged

NG firefighters

Five years ago, the National Guard spent roughly 14,000 personnel hours fighting wildfires. By last year, that had increased to 170,000 hours. 

And experts agree the trend is only getting worse.

"What does it mean for the National Guard to have spent 170,000 person hours in 2021? Instead of thinking about it as the worst fire year that the western United States has experienced so far, but perhaps the best fire year of the next 20 years going forward," said Erin Sikorsky, director of The Center for Climate and Security. "It's only going to get worse." 

The steep increase is just one example of how record-breaking weather and climate disasters are impacting the National Guard, who often serves as a response force to wildfires and hurricanes around the nation. Morgan Higman, an expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Energy Security and Climate Change program, told Task & Purpose that as we've watched "catastrophic natural and climate related disasters" increase, it's "pretty reasonable to anticipate that the supportive needs to respond to those disasters will increase." 

Read more in Task & Purpose.

Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1


The Veterans Crisis Line is staffed by caring, qualified crisis responders who are there to help. Many of these responders are veterans themselves.

Online Resources



Call 1-800-MICH-VET



facebook icon twitteryoutube icon   

Follow Us on Social Media

This email was sent to using GovDelivery Communications Cloud on behalf of: Michigan Department of Military & Veterans Affairs · 3411 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. · Lansing, MI 48906

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Defense Department New Website to Navigate Innovation Opportunities

View Online
Defense Department New Website to Navigate Innovation Opportunities
April 22, 2022

The Department of Defense announced today an "Innovation Pathways" website providing a "one-stop shop" for the DoD innovation ecosystem. Located at, the site serves as a gateway to the Department's efforts to bring in new ideas and technology, with a special focus on students, universities, and businesses.

"The Innovation Pathways website is one part of our on-going efforts to make it easier for those across the innovation ecosystem, including small businesses, new entrants to the defense markets, universities, and traditional defense suppliers, to find ways to collaborate with the DoD and each other," said Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. "For the first time, the Department has a website that puts the range of these different opportunities across the Department in one place." 

The new website features user-friendly sections, called "pathways," to quickly provide the most relevant information to the user based on interests. The first is for the academic community. Students and faculty can search available DoD internships, grants, scholarships, and research opportunities. Second, there is a pathway for those in the commercial sector seeking business opportunities with the DoD. Businesses can also learn about ways to seek specific science, technology, prototyping, and experimentation opportunities. The last pathway is designed for military personnel and DoD civilians looking to leverage existing projects, participate in workshops, or collaborate. There is an additional option to explore all the various DoD Innovation organizations. All users, both inside and outside the DoD, can apply filtering criteria based on their unique interests to find relevant DoD innovation organizations.

The site is the result of work conducted by the Innovation Steering Group (ISG), an initiative created by Deputy Secretary Hicks and chaired by the Office of Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu. The ISG features representatives across the department including the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the military services, combatant commands, and the Joint Staff. The department plans to periodically update the Innovation Pathways website to be responsive to user needs and technology advances.  

About OUSD(R&E) 

The Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD(R&E) is the Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Defense. The USD(R&E) champions research, science, technology, engineering, and innovation to maintain the United States military's technological advantage. Learn more at, follow us on Twitter @DoDCTO, or visit us on LinkedIn at


Press Advisories   Releases   Transcripts

Speeches   Publications   Contracts


Facebook   Twitter   Instagram   Youtube

Unsubscribe | Contact Us

This email was sent to using GovDelivery Communications Cloud on behalf of: U.S. Department of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon Washington, DC 20301-1400

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Michigan Veterans News & Resources for April 7, 2022

Michigan Veterans News

It's National Volunteer Month. Learn more about our Buddy to Buddy initiative

National Volunteer Month

April is National Volunteer Month, and the MVAA would like to recognize the amazing volunteer veteran mentors with the Buddy to Buddy Veteran Mentorship Initiative. Your dedication and hard work are unmatched and we are so thankful to have your help!

Buddy to Buddy offers one-on-one veteran mentorship to veterans of all eras and discharge types as well as those serving in the Michigan National Guard or Reserves who may not know where to find the resources they need or may be reluctant to ask for help. Volunteer veteran mentors, called "Buddies," are located throughout Michigan to help support a veteran's needs and to link them to benefits and resources ranging from financial to employment, and from education to health care. Buddies can also connect their fellow veterans to advocates, such as Veteran Navigators, who can help with mental health and substance abuse issues. 

To begin the process to find resources in your area and to connect to the Buddy to Buddy program, call 1-800-MICH-VET (1-800-642-4838). If you are a veteran interested in becoming a mentor for other veterans in your area, please complete the Buddy to Buddy mentor application. A monthly information session about becoming a mentor is available. To request to join this session, email

VA life insurance available to service-disabled veterans

VA life insurance is a benefit that can protect your loved ones with income replacement, end of life costs and financial flexibility. While it's not always pleasant to think about how you will prepare for your family's well-being after you're gone, if you are injured or ill because of your service-connected disability, obtaining life insurance is a vital process. VA offers life insurance options to meet your unique needs as a veteran.

You are eligible for VA life insurance if all of following are true:

  • You were released from active duty under other than dishonorable conditions on or after April 25, 1951.
  • You are rated for a service-connected disability (even if only 0%).
  • You are in good health except for any service-connected conditions.
  • You apply within two years of the date VA notifies you of your grant of a new service-connected disability, or by Dec. 31, 2022, whichever comes first.

Learn more at the VA's Vantage Point blog.

Tickets available for first Michigan Women Veterans Conference

Women veterans conference

Registration is now open for the MVAA's first-ever Michigan Women Veterans Conference.

Join us June 10-11 at the Lansing Center to celebrate the 43,000+ women veterans in Michigan and learn about advocacy for yourself and your community.

The conference is meant to build friendships and sisterhood and teach you how to get connected to the benefits you have earned and deserve. At this conference you'll learn:

  • How to advocate for your mental and physical health.
  • How to advocate for others by learning how to run for office in your local community or apply for a commission or board.
  • How to advocate for yourself in your job and get that raise or promotion.

The registration fee of $60 includes a full day of dynamic and educational content and breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks on June 10, attendance at all activities, plenty of networking opportunities and more. Hotel and other costs are not included.

Learn more and buy your tickets on Eventbrite.

Register Today!

Michigan veterans raise money for Ukrainian fighters

Ukrainian resistance fighters are not just battling Russian troops, they are also facing major supply issues.

Ukrainian Americans and Michigan veterans are working to get basic supplies, from bandages to helmets, to soldiers overseas, according to WLNS 6 News.

"They don't have the simple means to protect themselves," said Sergey Zelenskiy, a Ukrainian-American leading the equipment fundraiser.

Zelenskiy came to the United States in the 1990s but his mother is still in Ukraine. As the war continues, he keeps close contact with friends in the resistance and heard about what little equipment they have. Zelenskiy turned to an old friend, retired Major General Gregory Vadnais of the Michigan National Guard, for help.

The mission became personal for Vadnais after watching a region he knows well turn into ash.

"These families are torn apart, these civilians are attacked," Vadnais said. "These non–military targets attacked by the Russians – it just puts a lump in your throat and it does mine."

MVAA certifies Oaklawn Hospital as one of first Michigan Veteran Connector institutions

Michigan Veteran Connector

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency has designated Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall as one of the first official Michigan Veteran Connector institutions for its role in serving military veterans.

The MVAA's new Michigan Veteran Connector initiative identifies and cultivates community partnerships to simultaneously broaden referral capabilities for Michigan veterans and connect them to the best possible resources regardless of the area in which they reside.

The initiative is part of the SAMHSA Governor's Challenge, which looks at ways reduce suicide in our service members, veterans and their families. Health care facilities like Oaklawn can help by asking 'Have you served?' during intake or admissions and then starting the referral process as appropriate, noted Zaneta Adams, MVAA director and chair of the Michigan Governor's Challenge team.

"Based on our work through the Governor's Challenge program, we know that the sooner we identify and connect our Michigan veterans to services and resources, the statistically lower the risk for self-harming behaviors including suicide," Adams said.

To learn more about the Michigan Veteran Connector initiative, email Veterans who need assistance or want to explore if they are fully participating in all their earned benefits can call 1-800-MICH-VET (1-800-642-4838) or visit

VA initiative to improve reintegration for formerly incarcerated veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has introduced new efforts to improve interagency coordination and expand outreach to criminal justice partners, to better help those reentering into society after incarceration.

In conjunction with a presidential proclamation designating April as Second Chance Month, the initiative is part of the Biden-Harris administration's goal to provide meaningful redemption and rehabilitation for formerly imprisoned persons.

In partnership with the Social Security Administration and Bureau of Prisons, the Veterans Benefits Administration is working diligently to streamline information-sharing processes among these three agencies to ensure VBA receives prison release dates for veterans within 30 days after release to improve timeliness to reinstate benefits as applicable.

Currently, veterans bear the administrative burden of restoring benefits post-incarceration. Once released, a veteran notifies VA, the department then must obtain verification of prison release dates from corrections facilities. This multi-step process causes a delay in the restoration of a wide range of health, rehabilitation and subsistence benefits for veterans. It also hinders their successful and full reintegration into our communities. Through collaborative information-sharing, VBA will ensure the load is on the agency, not the veteran.

Read more in Vantage Point.

Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1


The Veterans Crisis Line is staffed by caring, qualified crisis responders who are there to help. Many of these responders are veterans themselves.

Online Resources



Call 1-800-MICH-VET



facebook icon twitteryoutube icon   

Follow Us on Social Media

This email was sent to using GovDelivery Communications Cloud on behalf of: Michigan Department of Military & Veterans Affairs · 3411 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. · Lansing, MI 48906