In Detroit, veterans of the U.S. military face many challenges each day. From acclimating to civilian life after lengthy deployments to applying for and receiving disability benefits, navigating the world of veterans’ assistance programs can be complicated. What are some of the most significant challenges facing veterans in Detroit today? Let’s take a look at the top issues faced by members of the armed forces.
- Applying for and Receiving Disability Benefits
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), current veterans in Detroit and across the country are more likely to suffer from a service-related disability than in previous years. Currently, nearly 30 percent of unemployed veterans suffer from a service-related disability, compared with about 15 percent prior to 2001.
In general, disability benefits may be available for any veteran in the Detroit area who was wounded or injured while he or she was on active duty. Even in certain situations, preexisting conditions that were aggravated by your military service may render you eligible for disability benefits. If you’re unsure about whether you have a service-connected disability or whether you qualify for benefits, you should contact a Michigan disability attorney.
- Applying for and Receiving Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)
It can be difficult to know whether your disability makes you eligible for Special Monthly Compensation (SMC), which is an additional tax-free benefit to disability compensation. It’s intended to help veterans with specific disabilities, “such as loss of use of one hand or leg,” according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It requires the “need of aid and attendance by another person.” Do you qualify for this benefit? And if you think you might be eligible, how do you apply? You should contact an experienced disability benefits lawyer in Detroit as soon as possible.
- Seeking a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant
In general, the Veterans Benefits Administration provides grants for current service members and veterans who have certain permanent and total disabilities related to their service when they’re seeking to purchase or build an adapted home, or when they’re seeking to modify their current home to accommodate their service-related disability.
Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grants are one way that the VA helps disabled veterans with housing options. SAH grants are intended for certain veterans who have service-connected disabilities who plan to continue living “independently in a barrier-free environment,” according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. If you have questions about your eligibility for such a grant, don’t hesitate to discuss your situation with an experienced Michigan Social Security Disability attorney.
- Getting Help with Vocational Rehabilitation
Unemployment is a serious problem affecting thousands of veterans across the country, and those in Detroit in particular. Indeed, according to the BLS, the city of Detroit often has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. As of April 2015, the unemployment rate in Detroit came in at more than 10 percent—a figure nearly four points higher than that in the neighboring metropolitan area of Chicago.
When it comes to veterans dealing with unemployment, the BLS estimates that, among those serving since September 2001, the unemployment rate for veterans is around 10 percent across the country, with female veterans facing an unemployment rate of nearly 12 percent. Many veterans don’t know that they may be eligible to receive certain vocational rehabilitation and employment services, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Such services can help veterans to start their own businesses, for example, or can help severely disabled veterans to find opportunities outside traditional employment.
- Getting Back to Work if You’re Disabled
One of the goals of the vocational rehabilitation services offered by the VA focus on helping disabled and paralyzed veterans return to work in some capacity. Although the wounds or injuries suffered while on active duty may mean that you’re unable to return to the type of work you held previously, your disability doesn’t mean that you can’t stay active in your community. Indeed, according to Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Paralyzed Veterans’ Vocational Rehabilitation Program helps to match veterans with severe disabilities to vacancies in the job market.
Contact an Experienced Detroit Benefits Lawyer
Many veterans are eligible for disability compensation, which is “a tax-free monetary benefit paid to veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during military service.” However, many service members and veterans aren’t certain if they qualify for these benefits, and applying for them or appealing a denial can be a confusing and complicated process.
If you’ve served in the Armed Forces and suffered an injury or illness, you should discuss your case with a disability attorney in Detroit today. Contact the Disability Attorneys of Michigan, to learn more about how we can assist with your claim.