VA, MVAA partner to offer Michigan veterans direct assistance Oct. 4-6
The VA is partnering with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and other veteran organizations to hold its second Veterans Experience Action Center (VEAC) next month – a three-day virtual event during which Michigan veterans can receive direct assistance to get the benefits they earned for their service.
The event will be Tuesday through Thursday, Oct. 4-6, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. ET each day.
At the VEAC, veterans receive one-on-one personalized assistance for VA benefits, VA health care, crisis resources, memorial affairs, community services and peer-to-peer connection. Veterans and their family members, service members, caregivers and survivors select their preferred date and time and then make an appointment online to connect to the VEAC. A local Veteran Service Officer initiates the appointment by calling the registrant. The appointment is executed over the phone in a virtual environment. Please expect to be transferred to VA experts and community partners as we work to address and meet your needs. Veterans who attend these events often leave enrolled in VA and other resources. Over 94% recommend these events to other veterans.
Register for the Michigan VEAC at this VA website.
At the first Michigan VEAC, held in October 2021, more than 600 appointments with veterans were booked.
Other supporters of the VEAC events include the Michigan Veterans Coalition and county-level Veteran Affairs offices.
New fight opens in Congress over VA policy that sidesteps state abortion bans
Democrats in the U.S. Senate are confident the Department of Veterans Affairs can implement a new policy that allows its doctors to provide abortions when the pregnancy threatens the patient's life or health, or when it's the result of rape or incest.
The VA announced the new policy last week to cheers from Democrats who have been searching for ways to broaden abortion access in states where the procedure has been outlawed since the U.S. Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to abortion in June. Abortion counseling and services would be provided to pregnant veterans and their beneficiaries in limited circumstances.
But Republicans have sharply criticized the VA for changing its longstanding no-abortions policy, with some pledging to keep the status quo.
Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth said this week that because VA hospitals are linked to teaching hospitals, those health care providers will have physicians on staff with the medical knowledge to perform the procedure.
In addition, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the Department of Justice would protect doctors from prosecution in states where abortion is now banned or heavily restricted.
"One of the strengths of VA health care is that every major VA hospital is affiliated with a teaching university, a medical university teaching facility," Duckworth said. "So the skill, the ability to perform the procedures will be there."
VA doctors also aren't necessarily licensed in the state where they practice, she said, which means they likely would not face legal ramifications in states that have banned or restricted abortion.
Read the full story in Government Executive.
MVAA launches FAQ section on website
Get your questions answered on everything from DD-214 assistance to education benefits at the new FAQ section of MVAA's website.
How do I file for VA disability compensation? How do I utilize my GI Bill? Am I eligible for burial benefits?
Those questions and more are answered on the new section of our website, Michigan.gov/MVAA.
Michigan Dept. of Labor & Economic Opportunity earns Gold-level status for supporting veterans
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has earned Gold-level Veteran-Friendly Employer status from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) for its commitment to hire, retain and support military veterans.
Only about 3% of the more than 500 Veteran-Friendly Employers earn Gold-level status. To receive this recognition, employers must retain at least 75% of veteran hires over the most recent 12 months, implement internal veteran support networks, and create either a hiring rotation or leadership development program within their organization – in addition to meeting all other program requirements.
The certification highlights the dedication of LEO's Veterans' Employment Services staff and their personalized approach to helping other veterans find suitable employment opportunities, said Stephanie Beckhorn, deputy director of LEO's Office of Employment and Training
Veterans' Employment Services (VES) helps eligible veterans and their spouses reach their employment goals through customized career solutions. As veterans themselves, VES staff have first-hand knowledge of the types of barriers veterans and transitioning service members face when looking for civilian job opportunities.
VES staff are located in Michigan Works! Service Centers throughout the state. By using a collaborative approach and working side-by-side with Michigan Works!, VES creates personalized career plans for each veteran and advocates to employers about the benefits to hiring veterans.
Learn more about VES and how its team of veterans continues to help those who have served at Michigan.gov/VES.
How VA is improving its debt collection services
Recently, VA announced that veterans will continue to have the option to request a temporary benefit debt suspension through Dec. 31, 2022. In addition to offering flexible debt collection relief in difficult times, VA has been hard at work making the experience of repaying a VA debt less stressful by removing barriers to requesting debt relief.
VA's debt portal launched in January 2021, allowing veterans to manage their VA debt online. Since launching, the portal has added capability to send email notifications offering online debt resolution for VBA overpayments with email confirmation. In July 2022, the debt portal was updated to allow veterans to see both VBA benefit debt and VHA medical copay information in one place.
Veterans now have a central location to access their VBA debt notices, their VHA medical copay statements, and their debt resolution options.
Read more in VA News & Information.
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