Cryan is committed to meeting the health care needs of veterans deprived of treatment

Cryan is committed to meeting the health care needs of veterans deprived of treatment

Trenton – Sen. Joe Cryan, the new chairman of the Senate Military Affairs and Veterans Affairs Committee, said he would follow up on questions raised at a forum on the health care needs of veterans who are denied a treatment because they left the service with “other than honorable discharges.

After participating in the “Veterans Zoom Roundtable,” sponsored by the New Jersey Reentry Corporation, Senator Cryan said he wanted to fix a system that prevents veterans from accessing care due to behavior resulting from service-related trauma, such as PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injuries, and military sexual trauma. He has already started working on a legislative remedy.

“These are heartbreaking accounts of veterans who served, sacrificed and suffered on behalf of our country,” said Senator Cryan, referring to former soldiers and surviving family members who have shared their experiences. “It is a cruel irony that former soldiers are being denied treatment and benefits due to so-called ‘undocumented’ dismissal for conduct caused by their military experience. It is an injustice that must be corrected. »

An Other Than Honorable Discharge (OTH) occurs when the veteran’s service record shows misconduct, but he was not involved in a court martial. OTH status often prevents them from accessing federal and state services and benefits, including health care. Veterans who have been discharged for “bad papers” are at greater risk of involvement with the criminal justice system, homelessness, substance abuse and suicide.

Senator Joe Vitale, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, also participated in the forum and will work with Senator Cryan on the bill.

“These are men and women returning home with wounds of war, including wounds that are not visible,” said Senator Vitale. “The current policy cuts them off from vital services, including addiction treatment, mental health services and other behavioral treatments they need to recover. These are treatments that can save lives.

There are about 8,000 New Jersey veterans with less than honorable leaves that impact their health benefits, the forum said.

Former Governor Jim McGreevey, President of the Reentry Corporation, moderated the discussion.

“It’s a matter of fundamental decency for the men and women who have served in the uniform of the United States Armed Forces,” McGreevey said. “They should receive the care they deserve and have earned to address the traumatic conditions they have endured in the service of others.”

Senator Cryan said he has already begun working on legislation to “fix the system” and will work with Senator Vitale, the Reentry Corporation, veterans groups and others. It will also review progress in other states.

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