Boston – During recent State Senate debate on legislation to support veterans and their families, Sen. Mike Barrett won passage of an amendment to ensure full state reimbursement of monies Bedford expends for indigent veterans moving into Bedford Green, situated on the grounds of the local VA hospital.
While the state Department for Veteran Services (DVS) currently reimburses Bedford at 100%, the arrangement is voluntary and the agency is under no legal obligation to do so. The 69-unit Bedford Green complex serves low-income and high-risk veterans from all over Massachusetts.
“Bedford does a wonderful job being a good neighbor to vets who need help,” says Barrett. “The Senate amendment puts into law a DVS commitment to reimburse the community at 100% for the first four years of each individual veteran’s occupancy, unless he or she happens to be a resident of the town already.”
State Rep. Ken Gordon says, “While we deeply appreciate the current administration’s commitment to reimburse Bedford at the 100% level, the amendment requires future governors to adhere to the same policy. Certainty is important to the town and to its outreach to needy veterans. I intend to support this language in the House.”
Bedford Town Manager Rick Reed says, “As you can imagine, the fiscal question mark that has hung over our town budget has been problematic. It has been hard to know, as a planning matter, if and when DVS might start reimbursing at the lower rate of 75%, as it does for non-transient and non-institutional residents of the town. This amendment reassures us that we’ll see full compensation in the years to come. We appreciate Sen. Barrett’s and Rep. Gordon’s efforts on the town’s behalf.”
The Barrett amendment was added to the BRAVE Act, drafted by the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. The Act increases, from 34 to 40 days, paid military leave for service members engaged in training and operations. It designates April 5th as Gold Star Wives Day and the last Saturday in September as Gold Star Mothers and Families Day. It prohibits prospective employers from looking at the medical or service records of a veteran applying for a job, unless the applicant’s discharge is listed as dishonorable.
The bill passed the Senate and now moves to the House.