Veterans Bills Push For More Benefits, Services

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­­capitolA new bill aims to help homeless veterans receive state aid, if they do not qualify for federal benefits.

House Bill 1057 focuses on improving the lives of homeless Indiana National Guard veterans who do not current qualify for federal benefits. These veterans were placed on active duty service, but did not meet the required length of service to qualify for federal assistance.

The bill’s author, Rep. Karlee Macer, D-Indianapolis, wants to use money in the Military Family Relief Fund, which is raised through military veteran license plate sales.

“We have over $7 million in the fund now, and over the years, I have grown frustrated about how much money we have sitting there when I know the good people in Indiana that buy those license plates really want to help veterans,” said Macer. “And there are veterans who have needs.”

This is not the first time Macer has been frustrated by veteran issues. Before running for office, she worked to coordinate care for retired and senior veterans and their spouses. Fifteen years later, Macer became “frustrated with the federal benefit, and no one really being able to answer my questions, or willing to follow up with me.”

She filed her application to run on the final day to register for the 2012 election. This is her fourth year serving in the House of Representatives. Macer also serves as the ranking minority member of the Veteran Affairs and Public Safety Committee.

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