NYS Council Of Veterans Urges Support Of Veterans Pension Buyback Bill

Today, NYS Veterans Groups met in Albany to urge veterans to contact Governor Cuomo in support of Pension Bill A.9531/S.7160. “The New York State Council of Veterans Organizations have unanimously coalesced in support of veterans pension credit Legislation” said Bob Becker, legislative coordinator for a group of more than thirty veterans service organizations including those of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. The bill, labeled a pension buyback, is designed to introduce fairness to an existing patchwork of veterans who served during specific periods of war while omitting other wars and conflicts and excluding most women veterans. It also brings New York State into parity with more than twenty five states that offer veterans a buy back option. Veterans of Foreign Wars New York Commander Marlene Roll is one such omission. Despite carrying her issued M-16 and serving as a nurse in a combat theater of operations, she would not be eligible to purchase pension credit because women were excluded from serving in units whose primary mission was direct combat. “This is a distinction without a difference,” said Commander Roll “and highly discriminatory to women serving with distinction in the military”. The bill would allow up to three years of service credit for military duty regardless of where and when the military service was performed and removes the requirement to have served during certain war periods and to have received an expeditionary medal. An unknown number of veterans served in combat support positions and are currently deprived of service credit buyback. Becker said, “Our member service organizations believe that all veterans deserve the opportunity to enhance their public pension credit. It is a purchase of three years of pension credit for those who qualify and not a gift. It should not be available to some and not to others.” “This bill would allow all veterans the same pension opportunities regardless of where and when they served,” said New York State Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Matthew Tully. “Not only would it open up credit possibilities to the 19-year-old who waswounded in Afghanistan and came home to work in New York's public sector, but also the women who served our country and are disproportionately excluded from this benefit.” The many veterans service organizations involved have urged their members to contact the Governor asking him to sign it into law. The legislation has nearly 100 sponsors in the Assembly and bi-partisan support in both houses. The Senate has sent it to the Governor for signature. Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 1.00.24 PM Member Organizations of theNew York State Council of Veterans Organizations American Merchant Marine Veterans American Military Retirees Association American Ex-Prisoners of War Atomic Veterans Association AMVETS Black Veterans for Social Justice Blinded Veterans Association Catholic War Veterans Combat Infantrymen's Association Council 82 AFSCME AFL-CIO Vets. Com. CSEA Veterans Disabled American Veterans Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association Fleet Reserves Association Jewish War Veterans Korean War Veterans