Rep. Ramos Introduces Bill To Better Assist Veterans Fleeing Natural Disasters
Says bill would speed local VA services to veterans displaced by recent hurricanes
May 03, 2018
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State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) today introduced legislation to better assist veterans displaced by hurricane Maria and other natural disasters by providing faster assistance from County Veterans Services.

“Although we can’t stop the rain, we should be able to stop our veterans from undue suffering and hardship,” said Ramos. “As tornado season has already begun, and as hurricane season nears, this will continue to be an issue for many veterans resettling in Ohio as a result of natural disasters outside their control. If a veteran moves to a new community after losing their home or possessions because of a hurricane, tornado or earthquake, we should help them right away when they need it most.”

Under current law, veterans in need of assistance must establish residency in their new country for at least three months before they can receive compensation. This legislation would allow County Veterans Services Departments to waive that requirement in instances where veterans are fleeing a disaster, such as a hurricane.

Following the hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands last year, as many as 179,000 net airline passengers left Puerto Rico for the United States, and it is estimated that nearly 20,000 Puerto Ricans will resettle in Ohio as a result of the hurricane. Many of these new Ohioans are veterans who rely on critical VA services for their livelihood. 

“We can never thank our veterans enough,” said Ramos. “These servicemen and women should not be forced to wait for help after being forced out of their homes.” 

The bill would allow a veteran seeking services to file an affidavit stating they’ve moved to a community from another area affected by a disaster declared by the President or their Governor. Upon receiving the waiver, the three month residency requirement for benefits would be waived, and the veteran could continue receiving benefits immediately.

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