Pryor, Coleman Introduce Bipartisan Veterans Benefits Outreach Bill
Washington, DC - Senators Mark Pryor and Norm Coleman today introduced the Veterans Benefits Outreach Act, legislation designed to help ensure that all veterans get the benefits they have earned but for whatever reason are not receiving.
It is estimated that nearly 600,000 veterans nationwide are not receiving the benefits they are entitled to, often due to a simple lack of knowledge that they are eligible. Pryor and Coleman's legislation would require the VA to prepare an annual plan to identify veterans who are not enrolled in programs they are eligible for and an action plan to enroll them. "Veterans should not have to jump through hoops to learn about and receive the benefits they've earned. This bill will help our veterans by bringing essential information to them." Pryor said. "I believe this outreach program is even more critical as veterans return en mass from Iraq and Afghanistan. This bipartisan bill represents an opportunity to cut through bureaucracy and meet the challenges we foresee instead of waiting until benefit problems escalate for a new generation of veterans."
"When we ask men and women in uniform to fight for freedom, our nation promises in return to take care of them when they return," Coleman said. "Providing basic health care is the least a grateful nation can do, and we do it gladly for our veterans. Tragically, there are veterans suffering from injuries inflicted on the battlefield that are not receiving the assistance they need and deserve because they simply don't know about the benefits available to them. It is clear that we need to do a better job of reaching out to veterans so they get the benefits they need. This bipartisan bill is an important step forward in solving this very serious problem, and I am pleased to be working with my good friend Senator Pryor to make it happen."
Coleman first introduced this legislation during the 108th Congress but time did not permit action on the bill. Pryor said he is excited to promote this bipartisan effort to ensure all veterans receive their benefits.