05.11.09

Senator Richard Burr Introduces Legislation to Help Veterans with TBI and Servicemembers Transitioning to Civilian Life

Legislation would expand benefits and eliminate compensation delay

U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, issued the following statement after he introduced two bills to improve benefits for veterans who are challenged by the effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and helping medically separated and medically retired servicemembers make a seamless transition to civilian life:

"Today, I, along with Senators Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), introduced legislation that would allow veterans with severe traumatic brain injuries to qualify for the highest levels of "aid and attendance" benefits provided by VA. This bill would give these veterans the financial resources to arrange whatever services they need to live in their own homes, with their families, and within their communities.

"For veterans with traumatic brain injuries, this bill would allow them to choose how their needs will be met, give them more flexibility and independence, and ultimately improve the quality of their lives. It is important to help severely injured veterans return to civilian life as closely as possible to the way they left it, and this bill is one step in that direction.

"I also introduced legislation to eliminate the delay - now required by law - in how soon VA disability payments begin after a veteran is medically retired or medically separated from the military. This bill would allow these veterans to leave the military at the time that best suits their needs, without the stress and financial burden caused by a delay in receiving their VA disability checks. It is my hope that this bill will help injured servicemembers experience a more seamless transition from active duty to civilian life."