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Pingree Fights for Better Access to Benefits for Homeless Veterans

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Congresswoman Chellie Pingree is asking the Department of Veterans Affairs to ask veterans about their housing status when they apply for benefits. In a letter to a top official at the VA, Pingree praised the agency's efforts to expedite claims for veterans who are homeless by including a box on all benefit application forms asking the veteran if they are homeless or about to become homeless.

"I am pleased that (Veterans Benefits Administration) expedites a veteran's disability claim once the Department finds out a veteran is homeless. I am concerned, however, that currently none of the benefit application forms ask if the veteran is or is about to become homeless…Asking veterans if they are homeless from the onset of the claims process seems like a common sense solution that could help expedite veterans' claims even faster, which in many cases might lead these heroes out of homelessness if claims are awarded," Pingree wrote.

Pingree spoke with Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki about theissue of homelessness among veterans during his visit to the VA Togus in 2010.

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