Issue Position: Veterans
"Veterans and men and women in uniform have sacrificed for all of us. They deserve the very best opportunities and benefits we can provide." -Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Senator
New York is home to more than one million men and women who have served in the Armed Forces.
As a Member of the Armed Services Committee in the House of Representatives, Senator Gillibrand established herself as a great friend of America's veterans and their families. She worked to improve the lives of millions of Americans currently serving and their families. In the Senate, Senator Gillibrand will continue that charge, standing up for those who serve in the Armed Forces.
With thousands of brave men and women returning home from service in Iraq, Afghanistan, and throughout the world, it is critical that the Veterans Administration (VA) facilities have the tools and resources needed to help current veterans as well as tackle the challenges facing newly separated personnel.
Ensuring Educational Opportunities for Veterans
In the House of Representatives, Senator Gillibrand cosponsored legislation that helped shape the new GI Bill, the first major update to the landmark legislation in decades. The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act, which was endorsed by major veterans and Armed Service advocacy organizations including the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America, ensures that all members of the military, including National Guard and Reserve members, have access to the educational opportunities they deserve. Senator Gillibrand believes that this is the way to revitalize the economy, just like America did after World War II.
Ensuring Quality Benefits for Veterans
The transition from Active Duty to veteran can be confusing and complicated. As thousands of men and women return from service overseas, it is vital that the process be easy and that service members have access to all of the benefits they have earned.
In the House of Representatives, Gillibrand authored legislation aimed at easing that transition. Providing Real Outreach to our Veterans (PRO-Vets) would change the relationship between the Veterans Administration and service members. Under current law, service members dealing with the stresses associated with returning from overseas combat, and in some cases, significant injuries, are left to fend for themselves through the complicated benefits application process. In many cases the service members are unaware of what benefits they are eligible for and therefore do not apply. This creates significant challenges for separated service members who later try to apply for their combat-related injury benefits or other programs they are entitled to.
Under PRO-Vets, the application process is streamlined to improve the transfer of information from the Department of Defense to the Veterans Administration for processing and requires that the VA proactively reach out to inform service members about all of the benefits they have earned and what programs they are eligible for. Senator Gillibrand will continue to advocate for this important legislation and work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to see its passage.