Senate Panel Approves Baker Bill to Improve Veterans’ Outreach and Assistance

HARRISBURG – The Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee today approved legislation sponsored by Committee Chair Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) which is aimed at improving outreach and assistance to veterans throughout Pennsylvania.

“I’m pleased that we are moving SB 915 for a floor vote because it is a tremendous starting point for providing more coordinated and proactive veterans’ outreach and services,” Baker said. “Our goal is to better manage the continuum of services across state, county, and independent programs, so that the men and women who have given so much to our country and Commonwealth, can receive the support they need to regain their mental, physical and economic health, to reconnect with themselves and their community and resume productive lives.”

The legislation, co-sponsored by 50 senators, will provide financial assistance to the Veterans Administration accredited service officer programs offered by nationally chartered veteran service organizations including The American Legion, AMVETS, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, and the Disabled American Veterans.

The program will be coordinated by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to enhance the availability of veterans’ assistance throughout the state, to measure performance and program outcomes, and most importantly, ensure the ongoing monitoring and continual improvement of services to Pennsylvania’s veterans’ community.

“Since August 1990, Pennsylvania has ranked fourth in the nation for the number of armed service members serving on active duty with at least one in four of today’s soldiers returning from combat seeking federal Veterans Administration compensation for service-connected injuries or illnesses,” Baker said. “Given the complexity of the federal claims process, our large veterans community, and our future veterans population given the number of active military as well as National Guard and Reserves who are currently deployed, the need for a more effective veterans outreach program here in Pennsylvania is significant.”

SB 915 was drafted with input from many groups including the Pennsylvania Veterans’ War Council, State Veterans’ Commission, several nationally chartered veterans’ service organizations, and officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

 Contact: Brian Grove
(570) 675-3931

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