Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks

Representing the 5th District of Indiana
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Veterans

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

Aug 2, 2017 In The News

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.

Jul 28, 2017 News Releases

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.

Jul 25, 2017 In The News

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.

Jul 24, 2017 News Releases

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Veterans To Enhance Studies Through (TEST) Accessibility Act, a bill Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) introduced earlier this year, passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support as a part of the #ForeverGIBill package, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017.

Jul 24, 2017 In The News

NDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A bipartisan proposal to help veterans impacted by school closures unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday as part of a landmark GI Bill reform package.

Jul 19, 2017 News Releases

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) issued the following statement after the House Committee on Veterans Affairs passed a package of 16 bills, including a bill Brooks introduced earlier this year titled the Veterans To Enhance Studies Through (TEST) Accessibility Act:

Jul 17, 2017 News Releases

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs held a legislative hearing to add H.R. 1104, the Veterans To Enhance Studies Through (TEST) Accessibility Act, a bill Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) introduced earlier this year, to H.R. 3218, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, a package of 16 bills that will reform and ultimately improve our veteran’s access to GI bill benefits.

Jun 13, 2017 News Releases

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House voted on bipartisan legislation to help our veterans get better care and better results from the Veterans Administration (VA). Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-IN05) voted in favor of S. 1094, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017.

Feb 16, 2017 News Releases

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN05) introduced H.R. 1104, the Veterans To Enhance Studies Through (TEST) Accessibility Act. After completing their service, veterans are eligible for a limited number of months of GI Bill benefits, which reimburse them for educational expenses incurred. Current law requires veterans to use a full month of their GI Bill eligibility to be reimbursed for licensing, certification and national tests.

Nov 30, 2016 News Releases

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House passed H.R. 2992, the Merchant Marine of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2016, a bill introduced by Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN05) and Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA44). This legislation will present the highest civilian award Congress can bestow to the Merchant Mariners who acted heroically to transport troops and provide critical supplies of war to U.S. troops by sea during World War II.