WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan), member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and Senate Defense Communities Caucus Co-Chair, today sponsored bipartisan legislation to better connect our nation’s veterans with the services, resources and benefits available in their communities to help them transition back to civilian life.
“I am committed to making certain our heroes can seamlessly transition back into civilian life when they choose to separate from the military after serving our nation,” Sen. Moran said. “The Connect with Veterans Act would give veterans the opportunity to access information from organizations in their local community that offer services to enhance their quality of life. This important legislation would connect communities with the more than 500 veterans transitioning from the military every day who deserve access to tailored services and would benefit from their support.”
With nearly 250,000 service members expected to separate from military service over the next five years, the bipartisan Connect with Veterans Act would give veterans the ability to access information they choose to receive regarding services and benefits from local, state and federal entities or programs by creating a voluntary directory of contact information connecting the veteran to their local communities.
According to Association of Defense Communities, the most important part of the transition from service member to civilian life occurs during the short time period after a service member leaves the military. But, a 2014 Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation study found that half of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans polled said they had a difficult time readjusting to civilian life. Currently, no mechanism exists for local governments and communities to interact directly with the 550 servicemembers who are transitioning daily nationwide. However, the bill aims to bridge these divides by helping service members quickly access the resources they need to effectively transition in their communities – especially those living in rural communities.
Participation in the program is voluntary and a veteran’s contact information would only be shared with his or her permission. Veterans’ personal information will be kept safe and secure. For a one-page summary of the bill, click here.
The legislation was introduced by Senate Defense Communities Caucus Co-Founder U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and is also sponsored by U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and John Boozman (R-Ark.).