Veterans groups such as The American Legion are now on the list of those in line for millions of dollars' worth of federal government surplus items – from computers to snowmobiles – given away every year. A bill signed by President Barack Obama in late December adds the Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans to the list of potential recipients.
Last year, $410 million worth of surplus was given to states to distribute under the U.S. General Services Administration's federal surplus personal property donation program. The program funnels used-but-still-usable government equipment – including trucks, televisions and office equipment – to states and sometimes directly to the recipients. Typically, the receiving organizations have to pay between 6 percent and 30 percent of the value of the item to handle transportation or administrative expenses.
The bill, dubbed the Formerly Owned Resources for Veterans to Express Thanks for Service Act, covers groups whose membership "comprises substantially veterans" to the list.
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