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The Ottawa County Department of Veterans Affairs was established under PA 192 of 1953 in July of 2011.It is funded with Ottawa County General Funds and exists to serve the veterans of Ottawa County and their families.
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides assistance to honorably discharged, wartime veterans or their widow/widower who are residents of Ottawa County. The Department assists with:
- Applying for available VA benefits
- Applying for VA service connected and non-service connected pensions
- Retrieving military service records
- Medical Transportation
- Processing applications for:
- Emergency financial assistance through the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund
- Emergency financial assistance through the Ottawa County Veterans Affairs Committee
- Ottawa County Burial Allowance
In addition, the Ottawa County Department of Veterans Affairs provides information, referrals, and support services to honorably discharged veterans and their families.
Programs & Services
Department staff process emergency applications for the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund and applications for the funding available through the Ottawa County Veterans Affairs Committee. A major focus of this work is to provide one-time financial assistance to help veterans overcome emergent situations that have caused personal hardship. In addition to assisting with the application process, staff work very closely with community social service organizations and frequently refer veterans for other community services for which they may qualify.Eligibility for emergency financial assistance and the County Burial Allowance requires wartime era active duty service. Veterans holding Expeditionary Medals for non- wartime era dates may also qualify.
Wartime Era Dates
- World War II: December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946
- Korean Conflict: June 27.1950 to January 31, 1955
- Vietnam Era: February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975
- Persian Gulf Era: August 2, 1990 to Present
Michigan Veterans Trust Fund
The Michigan Veterans Trust Fund is a State of Michigan emergency grant program that provides financial aid to wartime era veterans who encounter temporary or unexpected financial hardship. Each county in Michigan has a MVTF Committee that provides for the administration of Michigan Veterans Trust Fund expenditures. Local MVTF Committee members are appointed from the various veterans service organizations by the State of Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Board of Directors.
A veteran or his/her spouse may be eligible for one time financial assistance from the MVTF if the veteran has at least 180 days of active military service and an honorable discharge. The service must be active duty service during a wartime era. Veterans holding Expeditionary Medals for non- wartime era dates may also qualify. Financial assistance provided by the MVTF cannot generally be given more than once in a two year period.
Ottawa County Veterans Affairs Committee Funding
The Veterans Affairs Committee Funding is a County funded emergency grant program that provides financial aid to wartime era veterans who encounter temporary or unexpected financial hardship. The Ottawa County Veterans Affairs Committee (OCVAC) consists of seven veterans appointed by the County Board of Commissioners.
A veteran or his/her spouse may be eligible for one time financial assistance from the OCVAC if the veteran has at least 90 days of active military service and an honorable discharge. The service must be active duty service during a wartime era. Veterans holding Expeditionary Medals for non- wartime era dates may also qualify. Financial assistance provided by the OCVAC cannot generally be given more than once in a twelve month period.
Ottawa County Burial Allowance
Ottawa County provides a Veteran Burial Allowance of $300 for wartime era veterans and their spouses with limited resources to pay for funeral expenses. To be eligible for the County Burial Allowance the veteran must meet the following criteria:
- Resident of Ottawa County
- Honorable Discharge from military service
- 90 Days of Active Duty for purposes other than training
- Wartime Era Veteran
- Estate must be under certain Asset Limits (excluding homestead and one auto)
- $40,000, if there is a surviving spouse or if veteran has a dependent child under 18
- For a veteran with no surviving spouse or dependent child under 18, there is no eligibility for this benefit if the veteran's assets equal or exceed the cost of the funeral and burial.
Applications are available at area funeral service providers or a copy of an application may be accessed by clicking on the following link: Application for County Burial Allowance. After completion, the form should be submitted to the Ottawa County Department of Veterans Affairs along with a copy of the Death Certificate, an itemized Statement of Funeral and Burial Expenses, and a copy of Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD Form 214).
Note: All veterans and their spouses are eligible for free burial at any national cemetery. The Fort Custer National Cemetery is the closest location. You can receive more information by calling (269) 731-4164.
Transportation to and from medical appointments is available for all honorably discharged veterans (wartime service not required) who have no other means to get to their medical appointments. A copy of the veteran’s discharge papers (Form DD-214) is required. Call 616-394-8387 with adequate advance notice to discuss and schedule transportation needs.
Federal VA Benefits
A certified Veterans Service Officer is available in Ottawa County to assist veterans in applying for VA Benefits and to address questions regarding services available through the Veterans Administration. The Service Officers are seen by appointment at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Holland.