Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) introduced bipartisan legislation to connect military members separating from service with veteran service officers (VSOs) offering resources ranging from housing assistance and health care guidance to job training opportunities. The Know Your Vets Act of 2020 would direct the Secretary of Defense to provide service members separating from the military the option to share their name and contact information with all appropriate accredited VSOs based on the post-separation mailing address the service member provides.
“For many Nevada service members, transitioning out of active duty also means moving to a new community, applying for jobs and signing up for health care,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “The resources and guidance offered by veteran service officers can be extremely helpful during this stressful time, and while Nevada has a program to connect new veterans to state agencies, many across the country still struggle to access the appropriate assistance. My bipartisan legislation would expand options for service members in Nevada and across the country by allowing them the option to automatically connect to accredited state, county and tribal veteran service officers who can provide them the support they need to thrive in civilian life.”
“As the son of a World War II veteran and a Navy veteran myself, I understand the challenges faced by our military members transitioning back to civilian life,” said Senator Scott. “These men and women dedicated their lives to serving our nation and protecting our way of life, and we should do everything we can to support them during and after their active service. I’m proud to introduce the Know Your Vets Act, which will help connect our veterans with any help or resources they may need.”
The Know Your Vets Act of 2020 allows service members transitioning out of active-duty service to opt to share their name and contact information with accredited veterans service officers (VSO) in their area. This bill would take the burden off service members to seek out accredited VSOs for assistance adjusting to civilian life. The Department of Defense (DoD) is beginning to change its system to allow separating service members to share their contact information with state veteran service agencies, and this new policy will assist veterans living in rural areas where a state doesn’t employ a VSO, or for those who rely on Tribal resources. This is a small but critical fix that could help a veteran feel less overwhelmed, and fully supported by available veteran resources, regardless of whether that assistance is affiliated with the state, county, or a Tribe.
A similar bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.-18), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.-1), and Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.-8).
Senator Cortez Masto has also introduced the Servicewomen’s Health Transition Training Act to help women transitioning from active duty to civilian life learn about the VA services available to them.