Hayes bolsters bill to provide 4,000 local post-9/11 veterans with automatic benefits

A bill backed by U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes to automatically enroll veterans for federal benefits has passed the House of Representatives.

The bill, which would automatically enroll some 58,000 veterans across the country, including 4,160 veterans in Connecticut’s 5th congressional district, is designed to ease the stress veterans face when transitioning to the civilian life by ensuring they have access to Veterans Administration benefits and care, according to a release.

Hayes drafted an amendment to the bill requiring the VA to notify veterans “by multiple methods, including physical mail and … email” of their registration and eligibility for federal benefits, the statement said. .

“Veterans often postpone or forgo critical treatment to address everything from mental health to toxic exposure simply because they are unaware of their eligibility,” Hayes said in a prepared statement. “These serious conditions require immediate treatment and those who suffer from them cannot afford any delay in care.”

US Representative Mark Takano agreed, saying the Smooth Veterans Transition Act would save lives.

“We know that the months following a transition out of the military can be very stressful and especially risky for new veterans in terms of mental health,” Takano, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said in a statement. prepared statement. “One of the most glaring gaps in access to high-quality VA healthcare is the enrollment process – with EVEST, we can close that gap.”

The EVEST Act is supported by Paralyzed Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, the Veterans Health Policy Institute and the American Psychological Association, among others, Takano said.

Hayes’ amendment follows a hearing she called in November as chair of the House Subcommittee on Department Nutrition, Surveillance, and Operations to find out why 60% of eligible veterans aren’t receiving not the federal food benefits they need.

“Veterans face many obstacles when transitioning from military to civilian life,” said Hayes, a two-term Democrat who represents Greater Danbury and West Central Connecticut. “Honoring our veterans means doing everything so that they have access to the care and services they deserve.

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