KENNEDY, KERRY ANNOUNCE FEDERAL FUNDS FOR MASSACHUSETTS VETERANS DURING ECONOMIC CRISIS
MASSACHUSETTS VETERANS FACILITIES TO RECEIVE $27.4 MILLION FOR BEDFORD, BROCKTON, CHELSEA, LEEDS, NORTHAMPTON, AND WEST ROXBURY FACILITIES AND STATE VETERAN CEMETARIES
Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry announced today that federal funds will be made available for Massachusetts veterans and veterans' facilities under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Veterans Administration will receive $1.4 billion for assistance to veterans, hospitals, and care centers nationwide. With this funding, the VA will make a one-time payment of $250 to eligible veterans to ease the burdens of the troubled economy, and will provide $24.7 million in funds for Massachusetts veterans facilities.
Senator Kennedy said, "We owe an enormous debt to the courageous men and women who have sacrificed so much to keep our nation free and strong, and we must care for their needs when they come home from war. Now more than ever, veterans and the facilities that serve them, urgently need this support, and I commend President Obama for making it a priority to help those who have served America so well."
"This investment creates jobs and helps keep faith with our veterans at the same time," said Senator Kerry. "The renovation and remodeling of these veterans centers and medical facilities will help thousands of veterans, including many just returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Honoring our veterans and putting people back is a win-win proposition every American should celebrate."
Eligibility for the one-time $250 individual payment is based on those receiving compensation, pension, dependency, indemnity compensation or spina bifida benefits at any time between November 2008 and January 2009 and who reside within the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa or the U.S. Virgin Islands. These payments go to individual veterans and cannot be taxed by the IRS. For more information on these payments or other VA programs under the Recovery Act, please visit: http://www.va.gov/recovery/.
The funds for facilities will be used to improve veterans' medical facilities and national cemeteries, provide grants to assist states in acquiring or constructing state nursing homes, and to modify other types of facilities to make them suitable to care for veterans. $27.4 million of these funds will be used in Massachusetts for projects such as correcting Americans with Disabilities Act building access deficiencies, renovating inpatient psychiatric wards, upgrading heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and replacing fire alarm and protection systems.
In addition to these payments for individuals and facilities, $50 million will be available nationally for Health Information Technology programs to improve care and treatment for veterans. $48.5 million will be used for project infrastructure, configuration management, application development, testing, training, operations, and new hires for the Chapter 33 program which provides educational assistance to veterans under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, $1.5 million will be used for network upgrades for Veterans Administration benefits infrastructure, and $100,000 will be used for modifications to existing compensation and pension payment programs. For more information on the Post 9/11 GI Bill, please visit: www.gibill.va.gov.