|Posted:||April 14, 2021 03:39 PM|
|From:||Representative Karen Boback|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Legislation – Additional Funding of Act 66 (Veterans Outreach Services)|
|In the very near future, I will be introducing legislation to provide additional funding to our Veterans Outreach Services (VSO); services provided for by our various statewide veterans’ service organizations, such as the American Legion, VFW, and DAV.
The Act 66 program provides annual funding in the form of grants to service organizations to provide outreach to Pennsylvania’s veterans and their families. The funding assists these organizations by helping to provide paid service officers who provide professional benefits counseling and assistance, which includes federal claims work to veterans, their dependents, and survivors.
Many of my colleagues utilize these services by providing resources and space within their district offices so that these VSO’s can schedule appointments to meet with veterans and their families. The VSO’s have added over 160 new service sites since the implementation of Act 66 and over half of these are located in legislative offices, which greatly increases accessibility while lowering operating costs.
Due to the ever growing needs of our veteran population and the limited success of Act 66, I am proposing to utilize one million of Pennsylvania’s portion of the recently passed federal rescue plan funding to significantly augment the Act 66 program so that our veterans service organizations can stabilize the program, improve their workforce, provide competitive pay and training, and increase the number of locations for accessibility.
Moreover, the funding will assist our VSO’s with preparing and establishing the infrastructure needed to provide more services safely and virtually during the current pandemic and any future public health concerns.
Please join me in ensuring that our VSO’s have the proper and necessary resources to continue to provide the services and benefits our veterans and their families deserve.
Introduced as HB1427