Page 24 - Scene Magazine 46-01 January 2021
P. 24

  Local Interest
Director, Calhoun County Veterans Affairs
   Over the past few months, we, at Calhoun County Veterans Affairs, have been working on digitizing all our files. This will allow us to more efficiently and effectively serve our Veterans and their families. It is a daunting project given the number of files that must
be scanned and inputted into the new system. Since September we have created digital files for more than 5,800 Veterans and we have barely scratched the surface.
Discharge Documents
Discharge documents are incredibly vital and are the key to unlocking bene- fits for both Veterans and their families. They are required to apply for disability, pension, medical, education, and burial benefits. They are often required to re- ceive emergency assistance. Discharges are maintained at several locations in- cluding the National Archives, state ar- chives, and county offices. If a Veteran does not have a copy of their discharge, it is important that they seek one out and maintain it in a secure place.
The State of Michigan is highly responsive when it comes to sending discharge documents with a standard request usually reaching the Veteran
or family within a week. Discharge requests with the National Archives can take months to arrive especially now with their limited staff. As I said before, and cannot say enough, be proactive and seek out these documents if you
By far the most common document that our office maintains are discharge documents. Our office maintains dis- charges from 2020 all the way back to 1863. Whether it is a DD214 (which were issued after January 1, 1950) or one of many different forms that were used prior to the DD214, these docu- ments help share a Veteran’s story on a single page. Of course, the whole story is not capable of fitting on that one page, but they do allow us a miniscule glance
The county office where a Veteran resides can help assist the Veteran or next-of-kin in locating their discharge and getting it to them. It is important
not to wait until they are needed to seek a discharge document. While they are immediately available if maintained by the county, there can be a wait if ordered from the state or National Archives.
If you are in need of getting dis- charge documents, or other military documents such as Official Military Personnel Files or medical records, please do not hesitate to contact
into each Veteran’s time in service whether that be 23 days or 35 years.
do not already have them in a secure location.
us. Likewise, if you have questions regarding benefits for Veterans please contact us. Calhoun County
Veterans Affairs can be reached at (269) 969-6735. If you would prefer to reach us by e-mail, you can do so at
 Providing services for veterans and their families.
Federal Benefits Emergency County Burial and Programs Assistance Benefits Benefits
                                                                                                          (269) 969-6735 • 190 East Michigan Avenue, Third Floor, Battle Creek, Michigan

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