U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) introduced two pieces of legislation Wednesday to eliminate bureaucratic hurdles impeding veterans' access to care and extend military commissary and exchange store privileges to disabled veterans and their families.
H.R.1132. the Efficient Service for Veterans Act, would streamline the process for veterans at Vet Centers by allowing them to access their DD-214 at any of the 300 Vet Centers across the country.
"This bill eliminates a hurdle impeding care for thousands of veterans across our country. We must remember our commitment to take care of our troops for the years to come," said Representative Denham, member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "Our commitment to our veterans is to make sure they are aware of the care available to them and their families, and to ensure they receive this care in the most seamless way possible."
Currently if a veteran has lost his DD-214 it can take up to six weeks or longer to receive a copy from the National Archives. In the meantime a veteran cannot prove their eligibility for Veterans Administration benefits. This bill gives Vet Centers access to two electronic databases that contain the DD-214 information allowing them to provide instant verification of eligibility and eliminating a lengthy bureaucratic delay for many veterans.
Rep. Denham also introduced H.R.1131, which would extend commissary and exchange store privileges to veterans with a service-connected disability and their families.
"Our service men and women risk their lives every day to protect our country and I'm committed to making sure we preserve the rights, protections and benefits that America's brave and heroic veterans deserve," said Denham. "This legislation is a common-sense bill that will provide much needed help for our disabled veterans and their families. I will continue to work on behalf of our veterans in Congress to take the best care possible of our brave and deserving veterans."
Commissary benefits are part of the military pay and benefits package that is designed to recruit and retain Armed Forces while enhancing the quality of life and readiness for America's military personnel, retirees and their families. Access to commissaries and exchanges is generally limited to military retirees who are retired from the military under either longevity or disability criteria.
Both measures were introduced by Denham last Congress and received widespread support from Veteran Service Organizations.