Legislators Want NY Veterans Agency to be a Cabinet Agency

Legislators Want NY Veterans Agency to be a Cabinet Agency

Veterans' Services in the state may be promoted to a higher rank. A group of state legislators wants to divide a cabinet department. 

The agency would have a commissioner nominated by the governor and be structured similarly to the Veterans Affairs Department, a federal cabinet-level department of the executive branch. 

The Division of Veterans' Services was created in 1945 to help WWII vets, and the Office of General Services provides these services. 

John Brooks, a Democrat from Long Island and one of the bill's sponsors, praised the bipartisan support for the legislation. Among the co-sponsors are Republican Assemblymen John Lemondes and Brian Manktelow, who represent Cayuga County. 

Additionally, the bill would create a new veterans' services law that would consolidate and coordinate programs with other agencies to assist veterans with benefits such as education, housing and mental health care. 

According to lawmakers, approximately 17% of veterans in New York are receiving their benefits. 

The bill's sponsor, Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, believes that New York can do better. 

It's time for New York State to upgrade its Division of Veterans' Services - founded 75 years ago to serve World War II vets - into a one-stop veterans department with a commissioner and a budget that caters to the expanded programming.