BIRNEY SUMMERS: Asks county to fully fund Veterans Counselor office

TO THE EDITOR:

As the commander of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter here in Manistee, I am concerned that no action has been taken to fill the vacancy in the Manistee County Veterans Counselor office.

A veterans counselor retired last October. Since then there is just one veterans counselor working only 20 hours a week. The  county had been providing 60 hours of veterans counselor work a week. This lack of action is in fact a 66 percent reduction in the county’s support for veterans.

Having the Manistee County Veterans Counselor office open only three days a week is not acceptable.

The county could have taken action to improve the situation by making the part-time counselor job a full-time position.

It is almost impossible for a veteran to successfully get a benefits claim approved by the Veterans Administration (VA) unless they have professional help. They need the help that is provided free to them by the Manistee County Veterans Counselors office.

VA disability benefits for a disabled veteran typically range from about $300 to $3,000 a month. The benefit amount varies depending on the degree of disability and the number of dependents involved. These benefits not only help our disabled veterans and their families, they also help the economy of the county.

The work done by the Manistee County Veterans Counselor office results in a large amount of federal money flowing into our county every month.

I am asking that the county fully fund and staff the Manistee County Veterans Counselor office for 60 to 80 hours a week at a pay rate that is competitive with other counties and appropriate for employees with the dedication, skills and certifications needed to help our local veterans.

Birney Summers

Commander, Disabled American Veterans Salt City Chapter #43

Manistee

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