BISMARCK – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee (SVAC), joined his colleagues in introducing the TAP Promotion Act, which would provide accredited members of Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), including other organizations, to participate in the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) classes to help servicemembers file Benefits Delivery at Discharge claims.
Legally, TAP classroom instructors are not allowed to help veterans fill out benefits paperwork. The bill modifies the program to allow veterans service officers to participate in TAP classes to help servicemembers file expedited claims and complete medical evaluations before leaving service.
“The Transition Assistance Program is invaluable for servicemembers to access resources for their transition back to civilian life,” said Senator Cramer. “State and county VSOs are an essential resource for veterans looking to utilize the many benefits available to them. Our legislation will provide greater access to these organizations during the program.”
Additional cosponsors include U.S. Senators Angus King (I-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Mike Rounds (R-SD).
“Every year approximately 250,000 servicemembers transition out of military service into civilian life. Whether the servicemember is finishing their first deployment, or retiring, transitioning back into civilian life is a major life event full of uncertainties,” said Senator King. “The TAP Promotion Act would allow these servicemembers to connect with an informed, VA accredited representative who can mentor them in the process of applying for and receiving the benefits they earned. Thanks to my colleagues for understanding the importance of serving our veterans—just as they have served us throughout their careers.”
“Leaving military service and returning to civilian life marks one of the largest challenges our service men and women face. We must do everything we can to ensure they have access to the full range of benefits the VA offers as they take that next step,” said Senator Shaheen. “The TAP Promotion Act will provide our veterans with important mentorship from VA representatives to ensure they can access the benefits they’ve earned. The sooner they access those resources, the sooner they can successfully transition to the next stage of their lives.”
“Our men and women in uniform represent the best of our country,” said Senator Rounds. “We have a duty to make certain they receive the benefits they have earned once their service is complete, and Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) in South Dakota play a key role in doing just that. I am pleased to join Senator King in introducing this bipartisan legislation that would allow VSOs to connect with service members as they go through the Transition Assistance Program and help them apply for their VA benefits before leaving the military.”
Click here to read the bill text.