Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks

Representing the 5th District of Indiana
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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

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.

Nov 15, 2016 In The News

The Noblesville High School junior class hosted area veterans, Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks, Senator Luke Kenley and Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear Nov. 7 at its annual Veteran's Day program. The program included musical performances by NHS's band and choirs, as well as remarks by Brooks, Kenley, WWII veteran Arthur Thornbury and members of the junior class. Pictured, Kenley, Brooks, Ditslear and junior class president Salil Gupta stand for the national anthem. (Submitted photos)

Nov 9, 2016 In The News

The Noblesville High School junior class hosted area veterans, Congresswoman Susan Brooks, State Sen. Luke Kenley and Mayor John Ditslear at their annual Veteran's Day program. (Pictured) Ditslear and Noblesville Schools Superintendent Beth Niedermeyer greet U.S. Navy veteran Don Roberts as he arrives for the program. Roberts served in the Navy 1960-62, on the Aircraft Carrier Essex. The event included musical performances by Noblesville High School's band and choirs, as well as remarks by Brooks, Kenley, WWII veteran Arthur Thornbury and members of the junior class.

Sep 14, 2016 In The News

Six of Indiana’s U.S. representatives filed legislation Tuesday to help veterans regain their GI Bill education benefits after the closure of ITT Technical Institute.

Carmel-based ITT Educational Services Inc. shut down all of its ITT Tech campuses on Sept. 6, leaving more than 1,000 Hoosier students without degrees.

Sep 13, 2016 News Releases

WASHINGTON  — Reps. Luke Messer (IN-06), Todd Young (IN-09), Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Susan Brooks (IN-05), Larry Bucshon (IN-08) and Todd Rokita (IN-04) filed legislation today to assist veterans harmed by the recent closure of  ITT Technical Institute.

ITT Tech ceased operations last week, closing 130 campuses nationwide and impacting an estimated 40,000 students, including nearly 7,000 veterans.

Sep 13, 2016 In The News
An Indiana Republican wants to fast-track a solution to what he calls a "crisis" of veterans losing their education benefits to the collapse of ITT Technical Institute.
U.S. Rep. Luke Messer of Shelbyville on Tuesday filed a bill that would let veterans who were attending ITT recoup their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and reapply them to future coursework. Messer hopes to attach his solution, entitled the Protecting Our Veterans From School Closures Act, to a late-year fiscal bill.
Sep 12, 2016 In The News
American Legion Auxiliary President Mary E. Davis speaks during The American Legion Department of Indiana's
American Legion Auxiliary President Mary E. Davis speaks during The American Legion Department of Indiana's "Legion Day" event, including a 5k walk/run, cookout, 9/11 remembrance ceremony and breaking ground on the Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame. Photo by Lucas Carter/The American Legion.
Sep 3, 2016 In The News

Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., spent Friday morning in Grant County participating in a roundtable discussion with local veterans about the numerous issues and concerns facing the group, including access to timely care, prescription of opioids and affordable veteran housing. 

Grant County, with its more than 5,500 veterans and the Marion VA Medical Center, has a lot to discuss about when it comes to veterans and their needs and concerns, many of which overlap with both state and national issues, including the over prescription of opioids, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine.