Indiana is home to over a half million veterans, and my district is home to the Marion VA Medical Center. It is important to protect, compensate and care for those men and women who bravely defend our freedoms.
In recent years, the Veterans Administration has failed to provide timely, high-quality care to too many veterans across the country. In 2013, steps were taken by the VA, the Obama Administration and Congress to clear the unacceptably high backlog of VA benefits claims. These steps moved the backlog to the appeals process, a challenge that we are continuing to work to remedy today. I am committed to ensuring that Americans who have selflessly served to protect us receive the care, benefits and services they’ve earned.
Too many of our veterans become homeless, addicted to harmful substances, or suffer from untreated mental illnesses or addictions. I am working to improve the circumstances facing our veterans with more efficient systems and resources to help them and their families.
Unemployment and underemployment continue to be a concern for young veterans in particular. In 2017, I introduced H.R. 1104, the Veterans TEST Accessibility Act, which will give our veterans the tools they need to compete in the job market and help address veteran underemployment and unemployment. Under the bill, veterans would only pay for the cost to take a certification, liscensing or national test and can still utilize the remaining eligibility they have to cover other educational expenses incurred that month. Given the relatively low cost of many tests, it often simply isn’t worth it for veterans to pay for one of these tests and lose potential reimbursement for an entire month of other education expenses, like tuition.
Hundreds of licenses, certifications and tests are available for coverage under the bill and have been previously approved by the Veterans Administration. For example, licenses are required for veterans to become athletic trainers, real estate agents and fire fighters. If veterans are interested in careers as mechanics, IT professionals, computer programmers, electrical engineers and medical technicians, for example, they must be certified. Lastly, in order to pursue undergraduate or graduate studies in a variety of fields including law, medicine and business, veterans must take a national test like the SAT, LSAT, MCAT or GMAT. Veterans have the skills and experience that colleges, universities and employers are looking for, but face challenges that their civilian counterparts do not, including a lack of licensure or certification.
To read an op-ed I wrote about the failures of the Veterans Administration, click here.
More on Veterans
Homeless and needy veterans were welcomed into the YMCA on Friday for the annual Veterans Stand Down.
A stand down is modeled after periods of rest during the Vietnam War between combat operations. Now, stand downs are organized across the country to provide wrap-around services for former soldiers currently in need.
The lobby at the Grant County YMCA was crowded, with only a narrow path clear for gym goers, as Rep. Susan Brooks provided comments on work being done in Congress to serve veterans young and old.
The Grant County YMCA will open its doors for veterans in need with the annual veteran stand down on Friday.
Between 45 and 50 organizations will set up booths at the YMCA for the event that provides free services for homeless and needy veterans.
Bob Kelley, chairman of the event, said that in addition to the usual services offered at the stand down, this year will feature two new ones. Disabled veterans in need of a phone can receive one for free with the presentation of their discharge letter and award letters. Kelley said free haircuts will also be available.
From the outside it might look like Lori Goss-Reaves grew up without a father – her dad, Larry Jo Goss, was killed in Vietnam when Goss-Reaves was only six months old.
But Goss-Reaves' father has always been a part of her life, and never more so than last week Monday, when she, her mother and her father's aunt were honored by President Donald Trump at a ceremony held at the White House.
Dignitaries and officials took part in the Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony today at 5360 Herbert Lord Road. At the center of the photo, Senator Joe Donnelly, Congresswoman Susan Brooks, Mayor Steve Collier and Colonel Russ Dowden (Ret) took part in the ceremony.
The Marion Veteran Affairs Medical Center is using the technology of virtual reality to send veterans to Washington D.C.
For over a decade, Honor Flights have been sending the veterans of U.S. wars to Washington to visit the memorials and monuments built in their honor. The Northeastern Indiana branch of Honor Flights, started in 2008, has completed 26 flights to Washington, sending a total of 1,877 veterans to the capital in the process.
Though for many veterans, due to physical or health problems, a flight to Washington is simply not possible.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed a bicameral bipartisan budget agreement to keep the government fully operational, boost defense spending, increasing disaster relief funding, support community health centers and provide funding to combat the opioid crisis.
U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) introduced a bill on Monday that would ensure Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities adhere to policies that are in place to ensure that female veterans have access to critical health care services.
Brooks introduced the Improve Access to Care for Our Female Veterans Act, H.R. 3558, in response to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that found VA medical facilities often fail to comply with policies that protect the privacy, safety and dignity of female veterans.
Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Susan W. Brooks (R-IN) and Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) introduced H.R. 3558, the Improve Access to Care for Our Female Veterans Act. This bill, a product of efforts by the Bipartisan Working Group, ensures that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is better equipped and prepared to provide female veterans with the care and services they have earned and deserve.
The U.S. House voted unanimously Monday evening to approve legislation that would expand the GI Bill for military veterans.
The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 would remove the 15-year limit on using GI Bill education benefits, extend full eligibility to Purple Heart recipients who do not serve at least three years on active duty and improve benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserve.
The legislation passed by a 405-0 vote. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate.