Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Passes Bill Containing Benefits

12 Jul 2011

The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee last month passed a package of bills, which contains several provisions that California veterans’ benefits lawyers approve of.  While some of the bills address veteran employment concerns and transition help, others focus on disability compensation for veterans.

Bill S 914 would authorize the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to provide an additional year of disability compensation for veterans who submit a complete claim.  Veterans who submit claims that need work would not be eligible for an additional year of compensation.  This extra year would be calculated by backdating to one-year before the claim was submitted.

Additionally, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee also approved the Caring for Camp Lejeune Veterans Act.  This bill would provide for medical care for veterans and their families who were sickened after exposure to contaminated well water at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina.  According to estimates, as many as 750,000 people were exposed to contaminated water at the base.

The package contains several other bills like S 951 which aims to enhance current programs to help veterans in transition after service.  Under this bill, military transition assistance classes will be made mandatory for all veterans leaving the service.   The bill would also provide for follow-up of these people, to see whether they have been able to adjust properly after service, or if they need more help.  The bill provides for follow-up for between six months and one year after the vet leaves the service. 

Unemployment among young veterans is another major concern that needs attention.  Unemployment rates among veterans hover at about 34%.  Under this bill, veterans, especially disabled veterans who have not been able to find employment, will be encouraged to attend classes aimed at developing marketable skills.