WASHINGTON, D.C. – In advance of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing on transitioning servicemembers to civilian life, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown called on the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to ensure our nation’s veterans receive the services they deserve. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Brown and his Senate colleagues requested that DoD bridge the existing gaps in transition that can leave veterans without critical resources.
“As servicemembers prepare to end their military careers, they often face resource gaps in healthcare and employment,” Brown said. “The Department of Defense must enhance its current program to ensure that our servicemembers have the tools they need to effectively transition to civilian life.”
The letter noted the need for increased behavioral healthcare services and screening to address pervasive issues of mental health and suicide, as well as the need for expansion of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). Currently, TAP is only available when a servicemember is separating and cannot be retaken once a servicemember has relocated to where they will live after separation. Allowing servicemembers to access this resource after separation and requiring servicemembers applying to college to complete the Accessing Higher Education Track of TAP, will more effectively prepare servicemembers for civilian life and education success.
The senators also urged DoD to provide more timely and accurate Service Treatment Records (STR) to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help end the disability claims backlog. Without these records, veterans risk having their claims denied and not receiving appropriate medical treatment.