Page 5 - Scene Magazine June 2022 4706
P. 5

   Local Interest
BY AARON D. EDLEFSON, MPA
Director, Calhoun County Veterans Affairs
    help Veterans and their families in times of unexpected financial hardships. Each program has a committee that makes de- cisions regarding the grants and the two funds often work together to provide larger grants that they might not be able to alone. There are separate applications for each program, but if a Veteran is eligible for both, the applications will be completed simultaneously. For both programs, Veterans must have been discharged under honorable conditions. Dependents and surviving spouses of eligible Veterans also qualify to use the funds.
The Calhoun County Veterans Relief Fund is like the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund with two key differences being eligibility criteria and funding source. Originally, the Relief Fund
The Michigan Veterans Trust Fund was established on February 25, 1946, when Governor Harry Kelly signed Public Act 9 into law. The trust was funded with $50 million that was surplus following World War II. Until earlier this year, a Veteran had to serve 180 days on active duty during a period of war, have been discharged due to physical or mental disability prior to completing the 180 days, or have been awarded the Navy or Marine Corps Ex- peditionary Medal or the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. Periods of war, for Trust Fund purposes, are:
• World War II: December 7, 1941 –
was only available to wartime Veter- ans just like the Trust Fund. However, several years ago the Relief Fund was made available to all Calhoun County Veterans regardless of when they served if they completed their initial training period (unless discharged due to a medical condition that can be connected to their service). The Relief Fund is also open to those who served in the Nation- al Guard and Reserves, which the Trust Fund is not. Funding for the Relief Fund comes from a special millage that was approved by the voters of Calhoun County in 2012 as well as a portion of the County Veteran Service Fund Grant
Emergency Financial Assistance for Veterans and Dependents
Calhoun County Veterans Affairs offers two pro- grams, the Calhoun County Veterans Relief Fund and the Michigan Vet- erans Trust Fund, that are designed to
State’s 2021 fiscal year, Calhoun Coun- ty Veterans Affairs took forty-one Trust Fund applications and approved thirty of them for a total of $71,439.41. Of the eighty-three counties in Michigan, the only county that awarded more grant dollars was Wayne County, which uti- lized $148,202.00. However, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs they also have 74,096 more Veterans than Calhoun County.
that the state issues annually. In 2021, the Relief Fund paid grants totaling $65,031.41. Since its inception in 2015, the Relief Fund alone has awarded $325,797.25 to Calhoun County Veter- ans and surviving spouses.
In 2021, emergency financial assistance grants awarded through the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund and
the Calhoun County Veterans Relief Fund totaled $136,470.82. These grants allowed Veterans, dependents, and surviving spouses to stay in their housing, establish housing, keep heat and electricity on, maintain transporta- tion, build ramps, make critical home repairs, and overcome other financial barriers. We often partner with other organizations in our efforts to assist Veterans and surviving spouses in times of need. For example, we can collaborate with organizations like the Southwest Michigan Veterans Relief Fund to combine financial resources, Habitat for Humanity to build ramps, American Legion Post 257 to help move Veterans in need, and Veterans Helping Veterans to assist Veterans in furnishing new residences. For more information, please contact Calhoun County Veterans Affairs at (269) 969- 6735 or va@calhouncountymi.gov.
 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 calhouncountymi.gov/departments/veterans_affairs/index.php
12/31/1946
• Korean War: June 27, 1950 –
January 31, 1955
• Vietnam War: February 29, 1961 –
May 7, 1975
• Persian Gulf: August 2, 1990 –
 Present
In January, the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund was made accessible to Veterans who served during peacetime but are 65 or older. These grants are restricted to utilities and housing. They are also restricted to the Veteran only, so they are not available to surviving spouses or dependents. During the
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