TRENTON — State Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township) hosted a Veterans Town Hall last night at Trenton City Hall. Camilleri was joined by state Sen. David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights), along with experts from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and Wayne County Veterans Services.
“The men and women who served our country put their lives on the line for our safety, comfort and well-being. The least we can do is help them navigate the often confusing process of receiving benefits and assistance once they return home,” Camilleri said. “I am thankful that Sen. Knezek and state and local experts could join in helping our community’s veterans access the help they need and deserve. This is but one of the many ways we can thank them for their selfless service.”
Camilleri and Knezek provided an update on legislative efforts to better support Michigan veterans, including Camilleri’s bill to allow disabled veterans who have been honorably discharged to purchase up to five special vehicle registration plates with the Disabled Veteran designation. Experts were on-hand from state and local veterans agencies to cover various topics including how to successfully receive assistance through their agencies. Among the topics covered were ways in which veterans can receive a benefits counselor, file claims or appeals, apply for pension benefits, and qualify for the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund.
“For too many veterans, the coming home process can be frustrating as they seek to transition from serving our country at home or abroad to working or going to school as a civilian in the United States. Too many men and women find themselves overwhelmed by the countless, unnecessary layers of red tape and bureaucracy,” said Knezek, an Iraq war veteran and former Marine Corps Sergeant. “There are some incredible programs and services available for our Downriver veterans — all of which aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on if we don’t get veterans tied into the benefits they earned. I am thankful that Rep. Camilleri is working to provide our veterans the world-class support they deserve.”
Veterans with questions about accessing benefits and services can call the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency at (800) MICH-VET (642-4838).