There is a new mobile system that veterans can utilize in order to access healthcare services from their mobile devices. The Veterans Affairs Telehealth Services can now be accessed by app, making it easier for patients to schedule visits from as many as 50 types of health care services remotely.

Last year alone 700,00 veterans received care through telehealth services. Leaders of the VA hope that with this mobile app, accessibility of medical services continues to improve for veterans across the nation, making it even easier for veterans to receive the help they deserve.  

If you or a veteran you know is unsure of their rights or in need of home assistance please contact SMDA for a free consultation so we can help you receive the appropriate assistance.

Spc. Ryan Trantham from the Michigan National Guard’s 156th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, Company C. earned Honor Guard status on June 2017 after undergoing 40 hours of Michigan Army National Guard, Honor Guard Training.

SMDA continues to be proud to serve Michigan veterans and congratulates Spc. Trantham on this achievement.

11 former workers at the Kent County Home for Veterans face felony charges following a 2016 audit that revealed their mishandling of abuse case filings and staff shortages. Additionally, the staff reported doing 100% of room checks when only about 43% were actually completed according to video surveillance. Reports also showed that the facility faced staff shortages of sometimes as many as 22 personnel per day. Ninety percent of abuse and neglect reports were not passed on to the nursing director, according to the audit survey. The staff faces up to 4 years in jail in addition to $5,000 in fines for their mistreatment of the veterans.

Governor Rick Snyder replaced the current head of veteran affairs in Michigan as a result of the audit’s findings. He accepted his former campaign manager and Director of the Veteran Affairs Agency in Michigan, Jeff Barnes’s, resignation and appointed his current chief legal counsel, James Redford, in Barnes’s stead. Snyder says the findings of the audit are “deeply troubling” and that Michigan Veterans deserve better.

If a veteran you know is being neglected or abused please please contact SMDA for a free consultation so we can help them receive the appropriate compensation and care that they need and deserve.

The War Dog Memorial will be unveiled with a ceremony occurring this Saturday morning in Lake Orion. The monument will be dedicated to dogs that served alongside military members and will be located at the Orion Veterans Memorial in Lake Orion. The ceremony will include a salute from retired military dogs.

SMDA continues to be proud to support Michigan veterans and their furry companions.

Michigan native and Vietnam War veteran James McCloughan was honored for his bravery during the battle of Nui Yon Hill this Monday. He was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military honor possible due to saving the lives of ten men while acting as a medic during the fight. He was only 23 at the time of the 1969 battle and receives this honor at age 71, after returning home to work as a teacher and coach for 40 years.

SMDA continues to be proud of and proud to serve Michigan veterans and congratulates Mr. McCloughan on his achievement.

Michigan Vietnam Veterans that were exposed to Agent Orange may now have the ability to file for benefits. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs recently expanded its list of ships that were subject to Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam era. This is good news to Navy Veterans that were denied benefits in the past. Attached is the new database which includes the new ship listings. http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/list.asp

If you are residing in Michigan and were denied benefits related to Agent Orange exposure PRIOR TO AUGUST of 2010, please call, we can assist you with an appeal for benefits, or direct you to another that can.

We frequently come across others that assist veterans with benefits other than non-service connected benefits like aid and attendance. Benefits provided by the GI Bill or through the service connect programs can also assist veterans with service connected illnesses, injuries or conditions. One such benefit provided by the VA is the VA loan and mortgage program.

For more information contact Jeff Zimmerman at Simple Mortgage. Mr. Zimmerman specializes in VA loans and mortgages. As a special thank you to veterans, anyone who utilizes Simple Mortgage for a purchase or refinance between now and the end of the year and mentioned your blog will receive a $500 visa gift card at closing!

Metro Detroit and West Michigan seniors that receive VA benefits for long term care through VA Aid and Attendance Benefit, have always looked forward to the annual federal budget announcement of the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). This year the announcement is not favorable. The latest from the Social Security Administration is that there will not be a COLA adjustment for 2016.

As a result veterans receiving this benefit can be all but certain to receive the same monthly amounts that they have in 2015. For now this is the only change to the VA non-service connected benefits that will be in effect for 2016. The proposed “looks-back” and transfer regulations are not a definite yet…

For more information about the COLA and your benefits follow the link below. If you do not receive VA benefits to assist you or your loved ones with long term care, please call our office at 1-866-529-ELDR. We can assist wartime veterans with long term care planning throughout the State of Michigan.
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Michigan Medicaid law is always evolving. Most changes will impact the ability for a family to become eligible to receive benefits to pay for the cost of nursing home care. A recent change creates a favorable planning opportunity for Michigan families seeking Medicaid benefits for a loved one. The regulation allows a community spouse to appoint his or her beneficiaries to the exclusion of the State of Michigan on a “Medicaid Approved Annuity”.

This change will effectively allow a community spouse (a husband or wife living at home while his or her spouse resides in a nursing home) to help protect his or her own assets. Medicaid Approved Annuities allow the well spouse to receive the value of the assets that a married couple owns, at the time of nursing home admission, that exceed qualification, in regular monthly payments over the duration of his or her life expectancy or less.

Most Michigan residents are shocked to learn that they can protect almost everything when a spouse enters a nursing home. Even more Michigan residents are elated to learn that a single person entering a nursing home can still protect more than half of his or her estate. Accordingly, if you have a family member entering a nursing home, it is important to understand the law. As elder law attorneys with experience in nursing home and long term care planning, we can help.

Michigan Vietnam Veterans living in the Detroit and Grand Rapids areas often seek advice related to agent orange exposure. These claims are known as “service connected” disability claims. Following a change in law in August of 2010, Vietnam Vets can seek disability benefits for “presumptive conditions”. These conditions can include type II diabetes, certain pulmonary conditions, and, ischemic heart conditions.

Although we cannot help most vets with service connected claims there are specific avenues veterans can pursue for assistance. Often while working with “non-service” connected pension issues and long term care planning, I come across useful resources for veterans seeking “service connected disability benefits”. Service connected benefits are the more often thought of benefits for veterans. This is the benefit that involves rating a veteran’s disability brought on directly from or during service and paying a monthly disability benefit.

A recent resource that I discovered is a website devoted to Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange. A link to this website and newsletter can be found at: /http://files.ctctcdn.com/761af348101/79fe5db6-f624-4d0e-8f70-697eb1238f02.pdf