Senator Jean Stanfield’s legislation to help struggling New Jersey veterans get the psychiatric care they need was endorsed today by the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
Sen. Jean Stanfield’s legislation to help struggling New Jersey veterans get the psychiatric care they need was endorsed by the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. (Facebook/173rd Airborne Brigade)
Stanfield’s bill, S-2558, would make it easier for veterans to qualify for assistance with treatment costs by excluding veterans benefits they receive from calculations to determine their personal payment obligations.
“Almost 400,000 veterans receiving military disability payments, pensions, and other benefits make their homes here in New Jersey,” said Stanfield (R-8). “An estimated 5 percent of them live in poverty, and more than 550 are homeless. On top of that, thousands are living with service-related challenges including post-traumatic stress disorder.
“This is unacceptable. Well-earned military benefits should not be an obstacle to help,” Stanfield said. “Veterans should not be avoiding counseling and treatment because they are afraid they can’t afford to pay for it.”
Under current law, an adult with mental illness would be liable for the full cost of treatment and all related expenses of hospitalization until the individual is determined to be ineligible for – or has exhausted – any third-party insurance benefits or medical assistance program coverage. The remainder of the bill will be offset according to a sliding fee scale established for charity care. Military benefits are included in the calculation to determine an individual’s personal liability.
“We want to ensure our veterans can receive the treatment and care they earned by service in our military,” Stanfield said. “They never abandon our nation, and New Jersey cannot abandon them now.”