Calif. Senate Bill Seeks To Help Veterans Collect More Federal Benefits
This week, California Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) proposed legislation (SB 296) that would allocate funding to county veteran service offices and private service organizations to help veterans collect $400 million more in federal benefits annually, U-T San Diego reports.
NearlyÂ two million veterans live in California. Each year, millions of dollars in federal benefits for veteransÂ go uncollected in the state because of delays and incomplete paperwork, according to veterans advocates.
County veteran service offices help veterans and their families navigate federal paperwork requirements for a range of benefits, including health care services, disability pay and pensions.
Correa -- chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs -- said the county offices "have been woefully underfunded."
The bill would allocate $11 million to the county offices, a significant increase from the $2.6 million allocated by Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) fiscal year 2013-2014 budget proposal.
The legislation also would allocate $2 million to private sector organizations, such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Comments on Bill
Assembly member Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) said, "It is vital that we get this support to our communities at the local level," adding, "The increased resources ... will not only help veterans, it will bring more money to California."
Peter Conaty -- who represents county service offices in Sacramento -- said the measure reflects that service offices and private veteran service organizations "are partners."H.D. Palmer -- spokesperson for the Department of Finance -- said that state officials have not yet reviewed the bill (Gardner, U-T San Diego, 2/20). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.