OSCEOLA\u00a0COUNTY\u00a0\u2014 Winter can often bring on extra expenses, a hardship that can hit those on a fixed income very hard. A sizable number of those on a fixed income are veterans. Those in Michigan do have an extra lifeline, however. It\u2019s called the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund, and it can make all the difference in times of financial hardship. \u201cOccasionally, Michigan veterans encounter temporary setbacks, like higher than normal energy bills or unexpected home repairs,\u201d\u00a0said Lauren DeVol, Public Information Officer for the MVTF.\u00a0 \u201cIn those times of need, it\u2019s nice to know that Michigan veterans can find help through the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund. By helping veterans overcome these financial emergencies, we can give back to those who served our country and defended our freedom.\u201d The Michigan Veterans Trust Fund is an emergency grant program designed to help combat-era veterans and their families weather unforeseen, temporary financial emergencies. It was started after World War II by setting aside $50 million in a trust fund. Each year, the interest from that trust fund is used to meet the emergency needs of combat-era veterans.\u00a0The MVTF also receives donations, which help even more veterans receive financial aid. In 2014, the MVTF has awarded more than $2.5 million in grants, allowing 2,157 veterans to overcome short-term financial crises. \u201cIn order to be eligible for a MVTF grant, the Michigan veteran must be honorably discharged with at least 180 days of active wartime service or separated as a result of an injury sustained in the line of duty,\u201d said DeVol. \u201cVeterans who have been awarded the Armed Services Expeditionary Medal are also eligible, as are spouses, widows and minor children of veterans who meet these criteria.\u201d These distributions are utilized primarily as short-term stop-gaps against financial problems. They are not meant as an extra source of income, but rather assistance during times of trouble. To set up an appointment with the Osceola\u00a0County veterans trust fund agent, call (231)\u00a0743-6217. If not in Osceola\u00a0County, a local trust fund agent can be found by visiting\u00a0michiganveterans.com\/Home\/Benefit-Counselors.