Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Bill would help National Guard, Reserve members get benefits

| March 15, 2022 7:00 AM

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas of New Hampshire is part of a group of lawmakers that introduced a bipartisan bill to help National Guard and Reserve members receive their benefits upon retirement or completion of service.

A particular form is frequently required by the Department of Veterans Affairs, other benefits organizations and private sector institutions to certify qualifications for benefits after completion of service. Pappas and other sponsors of the bill said it can be difficult and confusing for both the VA and servicemembers to prove all service periods because of the way the form is drafted.

Plus, there is no single form used by the Reserves or the National Guard that is similar.

The bill would update the main form and provide all servicemembers with proof of service that will consolidate all service periods. It would allow them to apply for all entitled benefits while reducing confusion.

"Providing all those who have served our country the same record of their service, one of the most valuable documents for a veteran to possess, is essential to ensuring equitable access to benefits following their service," Pappas, a Democrat, said in a statement.

A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate.

The bill is supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Reserve Organization of America, National Guard Association of the United States, and the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States.