Ahead of Memorial Day, Sen. Bob Menendez and Sen. Cory Booker announced $6.7 million would be allocated to help New Jersey’s veterans during the pandemic.
The funding, sourced from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, was secured from the American Rescue Plan. The money can be used to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) for veterans and staff.
Additionally, it can be used to enhance cleaning services and expand staff levels to ensure high quality care for veterans during the pandemic.
“Our veterans have made unimaginable sacrifices in defense of our freedom, but showing our gratitude for their service is about more than national holidays and parades—it’s about providing our veterans with the care and resources they need and deserve,” said Sen. Menendez.“This funding will ensure New Jersey’s veterans homes can provide our veterans with the best care possible as we work to overcome the pandemic.”
Funding to State Veterans Homes
In celebrating the funding announcement, Sen. Booker argued it was a sacred duty to protect the state’s veterans.
“I was proud to fight for this federal investment in the Rescue Plan that honors our commitment to these brave men and women by providing them with much-needed assistance during challenging times.”
The state’s veterans homes were awarded funding as follows:
- Menlo Park: $2,083,457
- Paramus: $2,039,128
- Vineland: $2,600,627
“This funding will continue to enhance our efforts to protect the Veterans, spouses and Gold Star family members residing at our three veterans homes. We are also thankful for the efforts of Congressmen (Josh) Gottheimer, (Frank) Pallone, and (Bill) Pascrell to protect the residents at our veterans homes,” said Col. Lisa Hou, D.O., the interim commissioner, New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
Helping Gulf War Veterans
Some Gulf War veterans could see relief in a separate bill. Sen. Menendez applauded inclusion of some provisions to help those veterans suffering from the effects of toxic exposure in a new bill.
The Comprehensive and Overdue Support for Troops (COST) of War Act of 2021, marked up and passed out of Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee with bipartisan support, includes Sen. Menendez’s legislation to extend these benefits to Gulf War veterans.
“Our veterans have made enormous sacrifices and served our country with honor and dignity, and they deserve more than just our appreciation,” said Sen. Menendez. “They deserve the nation’s commitment to ensure they have access to the resources and benefits they need to live a healthy and successful life beyond the call of duty.”
This legislation would allow all veterans who were at risk of toxic exposure, including 3.5 million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, to obtain immediate and lifelong access to healthcare from the VA. Additionally, it establishes a new science-based and veteran-focused process for the establishment of new presumptive conditions, and would provide benefits to thousands of toxic exposure veterans who have been long-ignored or forgotten, including Agent Orange veterans suffering from hypertension.