Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo, Joseph Lagana, Nancy Pinkin and Angela McKnight to include more disabled veterans in the New Jersey Transit discount program for senior citizens and persons with disabilities was released by an Assembly committee on Thursday.
Under current law, the New Jersey Transit Corporation provides reduced fares for senior citizens over the age of 62 and persons with disabilities. A disabled veteran is only eligible for the program, however, if the United States Department of Veterans Affairs has determined that the veteran has a disabled rating of 70 percent or greater. This bill (A-2228) provides that all disabled veterans are eligible for the reduced fare program.
“This is a little adjustment of current law for the great sacrifice and service made by our disabled veterans,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “All New Jersey veterans should be able to take advantage of this discount program. They have earned it.”
“For their service, all veterans should be privy to the benefits that will help them live their best lives,” said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Legislation like this honors the courage and sacrifice of New Jersey veterans.”
“We must in many ways express our gratitude to all disabled veterans for the heroic service,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “Their countless sacrifice has led to the protection of freedom and democracy around the world. For that, we owe them this and much more.”
“Being able to travel independently using public transportation is critical to the physical and mental health of many veterans with disabilities,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “This bill rightfully will eliminate discrepancies in what constitutes a disability during the process of determining eligibility for fare reduction and acknowledge that all disabled veterans have made a sacrifice worthy of commendation.”
For the purposes of the bill, a disabled veteran is any veteran who is eligible to be compensated for a service-connected disability from war service by the VA or who receives, or is entitled to receive, equivalent compensation for a service-connected disability which arises out of military or naval service and who has submitted sufficient evidence of the record of disability incurred in the line of duty to the Adjutant General of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs.
The measure was released by the Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs’ Committee, of which DeAngelo is vice-chair.