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Shaheen Helps Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Veterans Access Their Service Records

New bipartisan legislation will help address the backlog of veterans’ service records in New Hampshire and nationwide 

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today joined Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) in a bipartisan push to help more veterans access their service records by introducing the bipartisan Access for Veterans to Records Act, alongside Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN).  

The bill will help eliminate the current backlog of veterans’ record requests at the National Personnel Records Center. The bipartisan legislation will help more veterans and their families obtain their military records, which are often required to access critical care and benefits veterans earn through their service to the nation.  

“Administrative challenges should never prevent veterans from accessing the critical care and benefits they deserve. Congress must take action – that’s why I’m helping introduce this bill to address the backlog of personnel records to ensure veterans can swiftly process their claims and access the benefits they have earned. By creating systems and infrastructure to streamline veterans’ ability to access records, we can better deliver on their benefits and needs, from health care and housing to jobs training and education,” said Shaheen. “I’ll keep fighting to ensure veterans can access the full range of benefits they’ve earned through their service to our nation.” 

Full text of the bill is available here. 

Senator Shaheen has spearheaded efforts in the Senate in support of veterans and military families. Shaheen worked to include provisions and helped pass the historic PACT Act, which expands health care for post-9/11 combat veterans. In the fiscal year (FY) 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that was signed into law, Shaheen successfully included a provision based on her bipartisan legislation with Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) that improves the transferability of military spouses’ occupational licenses, and also helps alleviate the burden spouses endure if they’re small business owners from having to constantly re-register their businesses as they move from state to state with their families. In government funding legislation for FY2022 unveiled by the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this year, Shaheen successfully secured $3 million to implement the legislation. Additionally, the funding legislation includes $22 million for the Beyond Yellow Ribbon (BYR) program, which funds the New Hampshire National Guard’s Care Coordination Program. BYR programs provide outreach services to troops returning from deployment, including health care, marriage and financial counseling, substance misuse treatment and mental health services. The FY2020 NDAA also included a provision Shaheen fought for that eliminates the military “widow’s tax” that prevents as many as 65,000 surviving military spouses nationwide from receiving their full Department of Defense (DOD) and VA survivor benefits.