Colbeck Supports Funding for Veterans Affairs Agency
Agency will serve to connect veterans with services and benefits.
State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State Police and Military Affairs, voted to approve funding for the new MI Veterans Affairs Agency, according to a news release from Colbeck's office. The legislation appropriating $3 million for creation of the new agency passed the Senate on a 30-5 vote. The agency will help to better connect eligible veterans with their benefits and significantly improve customer service.
“This new Agency will finally cut through some of the red tape and delays and help our Veterans get the benefits they earned and deserve in a more timely manner,” Colbeck said.
“There are many state and federal programs and services available to our Veterans. Unfortunately, these services are oftentimes underutilized because of gaps in communication between the service providers and the Veterans," he said. "This new Agency will allow the state to act as a central clearinghouse for Veterans services and coordinate efforts in order to promote better connections between the service providers and Veterans. This will include, but is not limited to, programs involving health care, education, and quality of life.”
Michigan is home to more than 650,000 military veterans, which is the 11th largest population of veterans nationally. According to data provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Michigan veterans rank last, on a per-capita basis, as recipients of federal VA dollars for total veterans’ benefits. Michigan needs to do a better job of making sure veterans are aware of those benefits and are getting the assistance they need and deserve.
The Agency will modernize the delivery of services to veterans, including identifying efficiencies and removing redundancies in coordination with all other departments and agencies that currently are responsible for programs related to services for veterans. It will make recommendations to the governor regarding delivery of those services. The Agency will also continue to support the operations of Michigan’s State Veterans Homes. It will be housed within the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
Colbeck’s statement on the floor of the Senate regarding the new Agency can be viewed by going to www.senatorpatrickcolbeck.com and clicking on the Videos link.