Carbajal Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Help Ensure Veterans Receive Benefits
Will Host Veterans’ Breakfast Events in Lompoc and SLO to Provide Help with Benefits
Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24) joined by Republican Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01) and Rep. Raul Ruiz (CA-36), introduced the bipartisan Veterans’ Record Reconstruction Act of 2017, a bill that eases process for veterans to prove their eligibility for certain benefits or decorations.
The Veterans’ Record Reconstruction Act requires the Department of Defense to develop guidelines for the use of unofficial sources of information in determining benefits and decoration eligibility when a veteran’s service records are incomplete due to damage caused to the records while in the possession of the Department of Defense.
Over 40 years ago, the fire at the National Personnel Records Center in Overland, Missouri, destroyed between 16 and 18 million Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), records which are often the only acceptable documentation for receiving military benefits. Many veterans are still in a state of limbo without these files when applying for benefits, applications are currently reviewed on a case-by-case basis with no formal guidelines.
Next week, on September 20th and 21st, Rep. Carbajal will host two free breakfast events for Central Coast Veterans in Lompoc and San Luis Obispo respectively. The breakfasts are an occasion to thank local veterans for their service while also connecting them with local organizations and providing them the opportunity to meet with Carbajal and his staff to seek assistance in obtaining the federal benefits. More details for the Lompoc Breakfast can be found here and for the San Luis Obispo Breakfast here.
“We have an obligation to ensure that our veterans that have sacrificed so much for our country have access to the services and benefits they have earned,” Rep. Carbajal said. “The Veterans’ Record Reconstruction Act will establish a much-needed pathway for veterans forced to reconstruct these records and finally provide clarity for our nation’s World War II, Korean War and Vietnam-era veterans after more than 40 years of uncertainty.”
“After a fire destroyed millions of WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans’ files over 40 years ago, the Department of Defense hasn't yet put in place an adequate system to reconstruct their history to determine their eligibility for benefits,” Rep. LaMalfa said. “Simply put, the Veterans' Record Reconstruction Act will make it easier for veterans that have dealt with this headache for so long to access what they’ve earned. With uniform guidelines in place, there will be no confusion as to what’s acceptable and what isn't and that makes life easier for everyone involved.”
"Each and every veteran and their family who has bravely served our nation deserves recognition of their heroism,” said Dr. Ruiz. “I am humbled to co-sponsor this bipartisan bill to help ensure veterans whose records were lost by the Department of Defense through no fault of their own receive the benefits and decorations they earned in selfless service to our country.”