Helps Military Families in Greatest Time of Need
(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Matthew W. Milam and Valerie Vanieri Huttle to ease the burden of costs many military families’ bear when it comes time to lay a beloved veteran to rest was recently advanced by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
“Serving their country fearlessly, making the ultimate sacrifice of their lives and time away from their families to protect the freedoms we enjoy, our veterans deserve all of the support we can give them,” Milam (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland).
Under current law, if a war veteran dies without leaving means sufficient to cover funeral expenses, the veteran’s county of residence is responsible for burial up to a cost of $250. This bill (A-1898) would provide additional help for the burial or cremation of all indigent veterans, including those who did not serve at a time of war. Under the bill’s provisions, the state would be required to cover burial and cremation costs above $250, but total costs would not exceed $1,250 for cremation or burial.
Vanieri Huttle said the amount offered to veterans with the enactment of this bill is nominal compared to their invaluable service. “It is proper and fitting that our military families be given support in this way for their years of service and dedication to their country.
The bill also would clarify the role of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs in identifying unidentified or unclaimed decease persons as veterans. Within 24 hours and no more than 72 hours, the DMVA would be required to identify an unidentified deceased person as a veteran.
The measure now goes to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.