HEALTH: Washtenaw County Department of Veterans Affairs is all about helping local veterans
There is a great local resource for area veterans: the Washtenaw County Department of Veterans Affairs. Michael Smith, the director of this organization, told us all about this organization on the radio show this past weekend. As Michael shared, his group exists solely for the veterans of this county (and their spouses and survivors). Their mission is to help them pursue all veteran-related federal, state and county benefits.
Michael explained his office primarily assists with disability compensation and non-service connected benefits. Disability compensation is for veterans that have a disability first incurred while in service, or a disability presumed to be service related. These individuals can likely receive compensation for lost earnings in the market place.
Non-service connected benefits are for disabilities not related to military service. Those eligible are not employable due to their disabilities. These pension benefits include Aid and Attendance, which frequently may help seniors. This benefit is for those with a debilitating illness and struggling with activities of daily living (such as needing help with bathing, grooming, toileting, or mobility).
For the Aid and Attendance benefit, there is a qualifying income limit. However, income is adjusted for the amount spent on recurring health care. This care can be provided within a senior care facility or in home by a home health care agency. This benefit can be significant, as much as $24,000 annually.
Veterans and their families with questions about benefits or needing assistance with the application process should not hesitate to contact Michael's organization. Their office is at 2155 Hogback Road in Ann Arbor. They are open Monday through Thursday, and afternoon appointments may be scheduled.
To hear our 13-minute conversation, click the audio link:
To contact Michael or the Department of Veterans Affairs, call 734-973-4540 or click on this website.
Photos by Sheila Doeden
We spoke next with Jeff Collison, the publisher of The Best of Aging magazine. His magazine launched about two years ago and has received broad community support. The publication focuses exclusively on the 50 plus market. The magazine has a positive optimistic outlook on life, while also not glossing over important issues. As Jeff said, "The Best of Aging is all about empowerment, identifying and explaining the issues, and empowering the readers."
Jeff is rightly proud of prestigious recognition the magazine recently received. The publication and several of their articles were entered into the National Mature Media Awards contest, up against 200 other publications and 1,000 entries. Jeff's magazine won six of the 35 awards. This is a very impressive affirmation of the quality of the publication, and confirmation they are on the right track.
They have recently expanded the distribution area for the magazine. It now reaches seven counties, basically all of southeast Michigan. The expanded distribution helped prompt The Senior Alliance (the Area Agency on Aging 1-C) to chose The Best of Aging as their media partner. Jeff and his team help this organization get their important messages out to their senior population. The current October issue includes a feature from The Senior Alliance about reducing the readmission rate at hospitals.
The November issue will focus on the caregiver crisis. As Jeff stated, "There is a shortage of caregivers and an explosion of the market that needs caregiving." The issue will include suggestions for relieving caregiver stress.
Jeff is always looking for quality articles with a good message. He recently added a 75-year-old columnist, who is also blind. Jeff has been so impressed with this man, that he has been through so much, but remains very positive.
To listen to this 13-minute talk, click the audio link:
To get in touch with Jeff or to subscribe to the Best of Aging magazine, call 800-330-3433 or visit the website thebestofaging.com.