Resources & Benefit Information
All veterans should maintain the original, or a certified copy of their Discharge (DD214) from military service. This document is the passport to all veterans benefits. If the veteran, or surviving spouse, does not have the discharge (DD214), a new certified copy can be ordered through the Gratiot County Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).
The County Clerk maintains a file of all registered discharges free of charge. Veterans or surviving spouses are encouraged to register a copy of the discharge, in case the original is lost. Additional copies are provided by the County Clerk free of charge.
Although veterans and their family members may correspond directly with the Veterans Affairs, the Gratiot County DVA provides free professional assistance in preparing correspondence to the VA and other governmental agencies. In addition to local services, the Gratiot County DVA also works closely with the Service Officers of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and other service organizations to assist the veteran in presenting his or her claim to the VA.
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the State of Michigan provide a wide variety of benefits to veterans. These include such benefits as Service-Connected Disability Compensation, Non-Service Connected Disability Pension, VA Home Mortgage Loan, Life Insurance, and Education programs. VA Healthcare benefits are available based on a Priority Group system. Government headstones or markers are provided for any deceased veteran discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
The VA, the State of Michigan, and Gratiot County also provide a variety of benefits to surviving spouses and eligible dependent children of deceased veterans. These include Survivors Pensions, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for Service-Connected Deaths, and Burial Benefits.
Veterans Relief Fund
The Veterans Relief Fund (also known as the Soldiers Relief Fund) was created by the Michigan Legislature for the purpose of providing relief to honorably discharged, indigent wartime veterans and the spouses, widows, and minor children of such indigent or deceased veterans. This benefit normally translates into a purchase order for food and other short-term needs. The fund is not designed to address long-term problems.
Note: Gratiot County also provides food vouchers for honorably discharged Peacetime Era veterans as funding permits.
Michigan Veterans Trust Fund (MVTF)
The MVTF provides assistance for emergent and temporary needs of eligible veterans. While the Veterans Relief Fund normally limits assistance to Food Vouchers, the MVTF may assist with housing, utilities, medical, and other issues. Contact the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency in Lansing for emergency assistance resources or call 1-800-642-4838 for more information.
County Burial Benefits
Under Michigan law, Gratiot County provides a $300 Burial Benefit to eligible surviving spouses/family members to assist in the burial costs of eligible veterans from wartime service.
Another benefit available to many veterans and eligible family members is burial at the Fort Custer National Cemetery, located near Battle Creek, Michigan, or the Great Lakes National Cemetery located in Holly, Michigan. A National Cemetery provides the following free to the veteran and/or family: gravesite (veteran and spouse/dependents in the same gravesite), granite grave marker, opening and closing for each burial in the gravesite, and a concrete grave-liner. There is also perpetual care, in-ground inurnment in a section designated for cremated remains, and military honors for burial of all veterans upon family request.