[r73] Looking out for our veterans, House Bill 1387 passes out of House (2/19/2013)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Start Date: 2/19/2013 All Day
STATEHOUSE – House Bill (HB) 1387, which provides aid for our Hoosier veterans, passed out of the House Monday with a 97-1 vote. The legislation was authored by State Rep. Mike Speedy (R-Indianapolis) and co-authored by Rep. Steve Davisson (R- Salem). 

“Although a system exists to provide our Hoosier veterans with financial benefits, the process of collecting those benefits can be a daunting task,” said Rep. Davisson.  “Hours of paperwork and the burden of dealing with government bureaucracy deter many Hoosier veterans from claiming the benefits they deserve.” 

County service officers are available to assist veterans with processing their claims to receive benefits, but their reach is limited. HB 1387 grants county service officers extended power to fully guide veterans through the entire process.

County and city service officers will be certified by the Indiana Department of Veteran’s Affairs by taking a written examination. 

“I want to cut the red tape encumbering Hoosier veterans, so they can receive their benefits,” said Rep. Davisson.  “This bill will basically allow the newly certified county service officer to complete veterans’ benefit claims directly and on behalf of the veteran.”

Currently, no accreditation is needed in order to become a county service office. While officers are certified by the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs, they do not receive any training from a federally accredited program and therefore do not have direct access to veteran’s records and cannot go in front of the Veteran’s Affair Council.

Additionally, HB 1387 aligns varying standards among different counties to ensure that all county service officers have the resources that they need to become accredited. 

House Bill 1387 will now move to the Senate for further consideration. All bills can be tracked online at www.in.gov/legislative.