Benefits in my Backyard: Michigan

In Detroit, a pig can run free if it has a ring in its nose.

Jonathan Kaupanger
April 20, 2018 - 12:31 pm

Photo by Eric Seals/Detroit Free Press/MCT/Sipa USA


The 10th most populous state in the Union, Michigan comes in at number 11 if you count only veterans.  That said, the state isn’t the easiest place for veterans, in the northern part of the state, the average round trip distance traveled to get care in VA hospitals is 320 miles!

We have the state to thank for something that is very, very important in today’s society – the two-day weekend.  Henry Ford gave his workers two days off each week back in the early 1900s, the federal government didn’t follow suit until 1938.  The state also gave us Motown Records (Detroit).

For veterans wanting to settle in the Wolverine State, there are a few laws you should be aware of first.  In Kalamazoo it’s against the law to serenade your girlfriend.  Bathing suits in Rochester must be inspected by the head of police.  Wayland lets you keep cows on Main Street and you only have to pay 3 cents per day.  In Detroit you can’t tie an alligator to a fire hydrant.  Also in Motor city, it’s illegal to scowl at women on Sundays!


Michigan does not tax military retirement pay.

  • Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans.  You’ll need an honorable discharge, be a resident of the state and be VA rated at a 100 percent disability that is service-connected.  This also applies to veterans receiving adapted housing benefits or veterans rated by VA as individually unemployable.  This exemption may be passed to surviving, unmarried spouses.
  • Principal Residence Exemption for Active Duty.  The owner must submit form the state's Department of Treasury form 4660 to the assessor for the township or city where the property is located on or before May 1.


  • Student Veterans of Michigan.  Provides a central hub for all student veteran organization and members in the state.  Also provides direct support to vets as they transition from service to the classroom and then to a career.
  • Children of Veterans Tuition Grant is for children of vets who were legal residents of Michigan just before entering the military.  Students may receive assistance for four years with a max amount of $11,200.



  • Financial Assistance Request can help if you are having temporary financial issues with utility bills, vehicle or home repairs, medical bills or other debts.Contact Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency at (800) MICH-VET or fill out the Emergency Assistance Form.
  • Soldier and Sailor Relief Funds are available for emergency expenses and burial costs. Contact your county veteran service office for information.
  • Michigan Veterans Trust Fund (MVTF) provides emergency grants to veterans and family members to help with short-term financial issues. Apply through the MVTF county committee.


  • Fishing/Hunting licenses.  Disabled vets receive these licenses for free if they are VA rated with a total and permanent disability.  When applying bring proof if you disabled veteran status. (You’ll also want to carry proof when using the license!)
  • Medal of Honor recipients, disabled vets and ex POW’s receive free entry to facilities requiring a Recreation Passport
  • Fireworks Free Fourth of July.  This is for vets who are looking for a quieter July 4th holiday. 


  • There are two Veterans Homes in Michigan.To reside in one of these homes, veterans must serve at least 90 days on active duty of if you entered the service after Oct. 16, 1981 have served at least 24 continuous months.Residency is subject to space and other requirements.Spouses are eligible for admission.Here’s the application for the Grand Rapids home and this one is for the DJ Jacobetti home.
  • A new state rule makes it easier for vets to purchase homes.

Cemetery and Burial

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