The Livingston County voters will soon decide whether to support an operational millage for the County Veterans' Services Program.
What the Department of Veterans' Services Provides
The Department of Veterans' Services is dedicated to providing services and programs to the 12,300 veterans residing in Livingston County. Services include:
- Assistance in navigating the claims filing process with the Federal Government for injuries or illness, federal death benefits, and survivor benefits.
- Case management and ongoing support for VA benefit recipients.
- Filing and processing of Livingston County burial allowance claims.
- Financial assistance for indigent veterans and their dependents.
Areas of Growing Need
The Department of Veterans' Services has seen an increase in requests for the following:
- Transportation for mobility impaired patients to get to their medical appointments such as dialysis and out-patient surgery.
- Financial assistance for anything from food and gas to home repairs.
- Mental health services.
- Assistance through the Veterans Treatment Court. The Court is currently unable to accept more veterans into the program without more volunteer mentors.
An Operational Millage
- The proposal for an Operational Millage calls for a public vote in August 2016 on a 0.139 mill Veterans Millage to be levied by Livingston County from 2017 through 2022.
- The millage would cost the owner of a home with a market value of $150,000 about $10 a year for a term of six years.
- If passed, the millage could generate slightly over $1 million to provide support for veterans and their dependents in Livingston County.
- Livingston County would join the growing number of counties in the State of Michigan that currently operate their Veterans' Affairs Programs from Operational Millages.
Funding Will Help:
- Increase the number of Benefit Counselors from 3 full time counselors to 4 full time counselors.
- Increase the number of Drivers from 1 part time staff to 2 part time staff.
- Provide funding for the addition of a Court Coordinator for the Veterans Treatment Court.
- Substantially increase outreach to Livingston County Veterans including education of what benefits are available and helping veterans access benefits earned by their service.
- Provide funding for the creation and assistance of mental health services.
- Update IT infrastructure.
- Assist veterans with job placement and resume services.
- Expand transportation services with the potential purchase of an additional van.