GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (ABC 4)- Today, AARP launched an interactive, mobile friendly Veterans and Military Families Health Benefits Navigator to bring together valuable information and resources in real-time to help veterans, military families and their caregivers navigate their health care options.

The Navigator has been expanded to help veterans and their families understand and access new PACT Act benefits and the recently announced new life insurance program from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), VALife. The PACT Act, named after a decorated combat medic who died from a rare form of lung cancer, provides additional VA benefits and health services to more than 5 million veterans exposed to toxins during Vietnam, the Gulf War and post 9/11 eras. VALife, which is also expected to extend eligibility to millions of veterans, will begin processing applications beginning January 1, 2023.

“These new VA benefits will provide critical health care services to millions of veterans,” said AARP Michigan Director Paula D. Cunningham. “AARP’s free Veterans Health Benefits Navigator tool can help make the often-challenging application process seamless for veterans and military families as they navigate the new programs to find best the path for their health care needs.”

Frustration with the application process and confusion about qualification requirements keep many veterans from receiving their service-related benefits. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, of the 534,775 veterans living in Michigan, only 34% have utilized their earned VA health care benefits. AARP provides Michigan’s veterans with critical information about what is required to qualify for health care benefits from VA, the Department of Defense (DOD) and even Medicare.

Upcoming health care enrollment deadlines:

AARP’s Veterans and Military Families Health Benefits Navigator is available at www.AARP.org/VetsHealthNavigator. For more information and other resources for veterans, visit www.aarp.org/veterans.

(Sponsored by AARP Michigan)