On Veterans Day, we pause to remember those who have fought to preserve the rights we hold dear. This year marks the 60th observance of Veterans Day and the 95th anniversary of Armistice Day, which commemorates the end of the First World War. While the heroes of World War I are no longer with us, we are grateful for their service and for the service of the brave women and men who have followed in their footsteps.
Despite their contributions to this nation, there are still veterans struggling to find steady housing or to access health care. It’s our duty to guarantee that they have a roof over their heads and the benefits they deserve.
Last month, I traveled across Ohio to build support for legislation to help veterans secure permanent housing. The bill would ease the transition to stable housing; allow the VA to increase legal aid to homeless veterans so they can receive help filing claims or getting identification; and provide services for homeless female veterans and their children – a population that is often underserved. We’ve made progress in reaching the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) goal of eliminating veterans’ homelessness nationwide by 2015 but there’s more work to do to assist the 50,000 homeless veterans across the United States.
We must also improve our veterans’ access to healthcare. Last August, my colleagues and I on the veterans committee shaped legislation that was signed into law to ensure accountability at the VA while improving the delivery of health care provided to our nation’s veterans. Since then, Robert McDonald, the new VA Secretary, has addressed the issue head on and he recently announced a restructuring of the department. Especially for veterans, comprehensive health care must include access to mental health services. That’s why I introduced the MEMORY Act – to require that unit commanders document events that individual service members are exposed to which might later be connected to mild Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress, or other injuries. This record would help expedite veterans’ claims processing for disability and other benefits.
I am proud to work so that Ohio remains a leader in serving those who served us. Supporting veterans and their families is a top priority for my office.
My staff and I remain ready to assist veterans, their families, and their survivors access health care and disability benefits as well as education and employment benefits support. We can also assist with other actions, such as discharge reviews and awards replacement. If you or someone you know needs any assistance, please contact my office toll-free at 1-888-896-OHIO (6446) or visit my website.
Please join me in thanking the brave servicewomen and men who have served, and in thanking their families who have sacrificed so much and so often do not receive the thanks and appreciation they deserve.