New legislation proposed for veterans

A House Veterans Affairs subcommittee is moving two pieces of legislation forward: one would make it easier for veterans to get mental-health benefits, and the other would make more World War II veterans eligible for compensation payments.Rep. John Hall, D-N.Y., chairman of the Veterans Affairs Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee, has introduced a measure (H.R. 952) to make it easier for veterans who suffer psychological injuries to get their claims processed.In order to be compensated for post-traumatic stress disorder, veterans currently must prove their traumas resulted from combat. Hall’s measure would expand the definition of “combat with the enemy” to include active-duty service in a combat theater during wartime.Another bill (H.R. 2270), sponsored by Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., would establish a fund for World War II veterans who never received benefits under the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944.The aim of the measure is to honor “unofficial” World War II veterans, such as pilots, air crew, and staff who served with the “Flying Tigers,” a volunteer air group that flew combat missions against the Japanese. Since those men were serving before the attack on Pearl Harbor and officially attached to the Chinese air service, their veteran status has been unofficial.Under the terms of the bill, such veterans would be eligible for a monthly payment of $1,000. House Veterans Affairs Chairman Bob Filner, D-Calif., already pushed through a bill (H.R. 23) that would make monthly $1,000 payments to Merchant Mariners who served during World War II.