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Tuesday, May 21st, 2024

Bipartisan Senate bill seeks permanent guarantees for a veterans helpline

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Working together, U.S. Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) recently introduced the Veterans Assistance Helpline Act, a bill to make a veterans information and assistance helpline a permanent fixture of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“We owe so much to our veterans for their sacrifice to protect our country and defend our freedoms,” Fischer said. “Unfortunately, too many veterans have difficulty navigating the VA and identifying which divisions to contact. The VA’s current main information line provides veterans with a single hub to access information about different VA contact centers. Our legislation will codify this resource to ensure veterans can maintain access to this critical tool and better connect with the resources available to them.”

Over the years, the VA has had a variety of phone number hotlines for its members to call with questions about benefits. It now hosts these phone numbers online, but the senators noted that this information can be difficult for older veterans to navigate.

Following the introduction of a similar bill by the pair in 2020, the VA launched a 1800 information line that December, through which veterans and other individuals could speak with live agents equipped to answer questions and direct them to a proper contact center within the VA. This latest legislation would codify that existing 1800 number and guarantee it could not be changed or taken away again.

“Our nation’s veterans sacrificed so much to keep us safe, and the least we can do is make sure they have easy access to VA support and resources, and their hard-earned VA benefits,” Rosen said. “I’m proud to be working across the aisle to make sure the VA’s veteran helpline is permanently codified so they never lose access to a resource that will get them the information and assistance they need.”