Tucker Measure Ensuring Eligibility for All Veterans to Receive Service Benefits Clears Assembly Panel

Under the existing statute in the constitution, veterans’ benefits only apply to those who served honorably during a time of war in a theater of combat after having spent a portion of their time with their boots on the ground.  Over time, a movement to ensure all veterans are treated equally arose since there were effectively no jobs safe from combat and many were not deployed to active combat stations yet still served during a war.

Agreeing with the “a vet is a vet” motto, Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker (D-Essex) sponsors a measure to broaden the eligibility for certain veterans’ benefits by eliminating the requirement that a veteran served during specific wars or other periods of emergency, and, in certain instances, that a veteran served in a war zone.  The measure was approved by the Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on Thursday.

The bill (A-872) would give eligibility for the civil service benefits for federal active service members in any branch of the United States Armed Forces or a Reserve.  In order to make this amendment to the State Constitution, the measure must receive voter approval.

Upon committee approval of the measure, Assemblywoman Tucker issued the following statement:

“The motto ‘a vet is a vet’ holds true and we should ensure that those who served in any capacity receive the benefits they have earned and deserve.  This bill is a way for us to continue honoring those who have served our country whether it be abroad or here in the States.  Women who have historically been barred from combat and special operations service members who were deployed on orders that were either classified or redacted deserve access to the same benefits as others.”