Mason County Michigan

Veterans Service Office







Department of Veteran’s Affairs



John Cotten

Accredited Veteran’s Service Officer

920 E. Tinkham Avenue

Ludington, MI  49431




Office Hours

Mon/Wed Noon-5:00pm

Tue/Thu 8:00am-1:00pm

Other hours by appointment


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As a veteran’s service agency serving Mason County, we assist local veterans and their families apply for benefits they have earned through their military service.  We help them navigate through the appropriate agencies and processes to obtain those benefits.  Our accredited Veteran’s Service Officer (VSO) will be with you every step of the way.


Our Mission:

To assist veterans and their families in obtaining all of the county, state and federal benefits to which they are entitled as a result of their service to our nation.


Our Vision:

The Mason County Veterans Affairs office will be:

  1. The central entry point for area Veterans seeking any Federal and State VA-related benefits or assistance
  2. The central clearinghouse for referring Veterans to other local community resources for support and assistance.


Our Values:

  1. To treat every Veteran and family member with respect and dignity.
  2. To work tirelessly on behalf of each Veteran or family member seeking our assistance.
  3. To know the limits of our capabilities and, if reached, refer the Veteran or family member to a more appropriate resource that will meet their needs



A Veteran is a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable, including a person who died during active service. 


VA benefits vary depending on the time, place and manner of the Veteran’s service.


U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs benefits may include:

  • Health care at VA medical centers or community based outpatient clinics
  • Service connected disability benefits
  • Non-service connected pension benefits for disabled, low income veterans
  • VA home loan guaranty
  • Education benefits for recent veterans
  • Death and indemnity compensation for survivors of disabled veterans
  • Death pension benefits for low income widows of veterans
  • Burial in a national cemetery
  • Headstone for veteran graves


Benefits from the State of Michigan may include:

  • Emergency financial assistance
  • Dependents tuition to state supported colleges
  • Residency in state veteran homes for veterans and/or spouse
  • Burial benefits for war-time veterans paid through the county.
  • Property tax relief for disabled veterans


Getting ready for your first appointment with your Veteran’s Service Officer (VSO):

If this is your first visit with your VSO, you will want to bring along documents to support your claim. You will need the following items to file your claim:

  • Original or certified copy of your discharge papers (DD-214 or other).
  • Medical evidence of your diagnosis including statements from doctors showing current medical condition, the date of diagnosis and doctor’s name and contact information.
  • Medical evidence indicating that the disability was caused by or arose during your active duty service
  • Other evidence you believe will support your claim



You may also need the following items, if they apply to your situation:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificate(s) for each claimed dependent, including your spouse
  • Social Security numbers for each claimed dependent
  • Death certificate, if applying for survivor’s benefits
  • Divorce decree(s) for veteran and spouse
  • Guardianship documents
  • Social Security award letters showing current benefit rate
  • VA pension or annuity award letter showing current benefit rate
  • Any correspondence from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Bank account and routing numbers (required for direct deposit of VA payments)





The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”


George Washington