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Udall Wants More Vet Benefits In DOD Legislation


Tuesday, December 3, 2013   

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Helping veterans avoid homelessness and have better access to education is the focus of amendments that U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico is pursuing in a massive Defense bill moving through Congress.

Udall spokeswoman Jennifer Talhelm says the amendments are in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets Department of Defense spending levels and policies.

Talhelm says the Prevention of Veteran Homelessness amendment calls for greater focus on the military preparing service members with basic financial management tools.

"On any given day, one in every five people experiencing homelessness is a veteran,” she points out. “And we really need to do better by our veterans, and Senator Udall has made this a priority."

Talhelm says some veterans lack the necessary life skills to transition successfully from military to civilian life.

She says the expanded eligibility for the Post 9/11 GI Bill amendment would help veterans qualify for educational benefits.

Under current law, members of the National Guard and Reserve who haven't accumulated two years of non-entry-level training are not eligible for full benefits.

Talhelm says the amendment would change the way training time is counted.

"The idea is that we would help these service members to also qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill,” she explains, “and then be able to go back to school and get a college degree."

Talhelm adds the Senate is expected to consider Udall's amendments this month.

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