Military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or traumatic brain injury (TBI) would benefit from Senator Anthony M. Bucco’s legislation advanced by the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee today.
Military veterans suffering from PTSD or traumatic brain injury would benefit from Sen. Anthony M. Bucco’s legislation advanced by the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. (Flickr)
Bucco’s bill, S-1871, would increase the services available to qualifying veterans, requiring the Adjutant General of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) to develop a program to help vets access evaluation and treatment for potentially devastating brain conditions related to military service.
“We have never seen so many veterans return home with such severe combat-related conditions,” said Bucco (R-25). “Some help is currently available, but it is clear our state must do more for the men and women who are struggling with often invisible injuries. This bill will make it easier and more convenient for our wounded warriors to access everything from transportation, to help with endless paperwork filings, guidance, and counseling.”
Currently, DMVA offers some assistance to those with service-related PTSD. Bucco’s bill would expand those offerings for the estimated 20 percent of veterans with the condition.
It will also prompt substantial upgrades to the benefits for those coping with total brain injury, or traumatic brain injury diagnosis.
“Estimates for veterans with PTSD are as high as 20 percent,” said Bucco. “That’s one out of every five returning soldiers. It will never be acceptable to look at what the state is doing for these men and women and say, ‘that’s good enough.’ We must continue to look for ways to do more to help those who volunteered to serve our nation as they battle to re-establish some form of normalcy in their lives. We owe them no less.”
Bucco sponsored an identical version of the bill in the previous legislative session.
That bill, S-2821, cleared the Military and Veterans’ Committee with a 5-0 vote, but stalled in the Legislature.