Each year, Americans set aside one day in November to honor the men and women who have served in our country’s armed forces – Veterans Day.
The selflessness and bravery these people demonstrate is inspirational, and they deserve recognition and gratitude for their service and sacrifice.
Indiana is proud to be home to more than 420,000 veterans. During the 2017 session, lawmakers increased support for our veterans through the state’s biennial budget, House Enrolled Act 1001.
The new state budget provides $5.7 million over the next two years for the Indiana Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA), which is a more than 300-percent increase in funds compared to 2013. Some of these funds include $600,000 to hire six additional state veteran service officers, $1 million to support organizations and programs that assist homeless veterans, and $1 million to create a two-year hyperbaric oxygen treatment pilot program, which works to assist veterans suffering from a traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Veterans’ problem-solving courts help veterans dealing with addiction or mental health issues who have committed low-level offenses. Prior to this bill’s passage, the state dedicated $500,000 to these courts each year. Now, the courts will receive $1 million in 2018 and 2019.
HEA 1001’s passage also expands the military service income-tax deduction for retired military members or their surviving spouses. Rather than a $5,000 deduction, they are now eligible for a $6,250 deduction.
Finally, veteran service organizations, including the American Legion, Disabled Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars and AMVETS, receive $910,000 in 2018 and 2019 to improve assistance for veterans seeking benefits.
May Hoosiers never take for granted those who have fought for our freedom. Please join me this Veterans Day in honoring the men and women who have put their lives on the line for our state and country.
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