The New Jersey Senate has passed legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) that would allow New Jersey National Guard members who have been issued a NGB-22 form to access certain veterans’ benefits. An NGB-22 is a type of discharge form issued to National Guard members in New Jersey after they have served the country.
Sen. Joe Pennacchio’s legislation would expand VA benefits to thousands of New Jersey National Guard members. (WikiCommons)
“All veterans, regardless of where they have served our country, must be able to access the benefits they have earned,” Pennacchio said. “Right now, National Guard members are at a disadvantage. Many of these heroes are never issued the accepted DD-214 form. By expanding eligibility requirements to include the discharge forms they receive, we will ensure that the members of New Jersey’s National Guard can access the resources and tools they need to live and thrive at home.”
Currently, New Jersey has more than 8,000 active National Guard members serving on foreign or domestic missions
Under current law, veterans use DD-214 forms to access to veterans’ benefits, such as a county veteran identification card or a “veteran” designation on their license. However, instead of a DD-214, members of the National Guard in New Jersey are issued a NGB-22 form upon discharge. The difference in documentation has made it difficult for members of the National Guard to access the benefits they need to live in New Jersey.
S-2538 would rectify this concern, by allowing members of New Jersey’s National Guard who are issued an NGB-22 form to receive certain benefits designated for veterans.
An identical version of Sen. Pennacchio’s bill is currently pending a committee hearing in the Assembly. If passed by the Assembly and signed into law, the legislation would take effect immediately. A copy of S-2538 can be found here.
“A county veteran identification card can provide important benefits and produce cost savings for our heroes,” Pennacchio added. “Thousands of National Guard members serve our state and country honorably. The least we can do is provide them with direct access to the support they deserve. Today’s Senate passage of this bill proves that we are committed to helping all of New Jersey’s veterans succeed here, not just a select few.”
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