Military veterans may be dealing with inefficiency from the Veterans Administration, but the state of Indiana is rolling out several new laws to help veterans.
One new law allows the state’s law schools to create clinics in which law students can guide veterans through the disability claims process.
As one example, Indiana University Maurer School of Law already runs a clinic focusing on Medicaid and Social Security issues. It will add veterans disability claims as part of its services. Six to eight law students who work in the clinic will assist vets in the process.
Supporters of the new law say dealing with the bureaucracy that handles disability claims can be challenging and often overwhelming to veterans.
Under another new law, the Indiana State Department of Health will study a possible program to treat veterans who have traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Still another law makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against a prospective employee based on his or her status as a veteran.
Another law removes a three-year limit from the Military Family Relief Fund, allowing service members or dependents to receive extended help from the fund. Military families can use grants from the fund for needs such as food, housing, medical services and more.
The new Second Service for Veterans program gives former soldiers college credits for education and training they received in the service — which often can be more rigorous than college classes. The credits would count toward a degree in education and help veterans become Indiana teachers.
Estimates says some veterans could have as many as 25-30 college credits when they enter college after their service.
Legislators from northeast Indiana played key roles in passing several of these new laws.
Not all of the help for military personnel is coming from state legislators. U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly is working to pass the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2014 and other changes to improve mental health care for service members and their families.