Sen. DiZoglio Files Bill to Provide Emergency Relief for Veterans, Speed Delivery of Aid

Sen. Diana DiZoglio. (Courtesy photograph.)

Legislation filed by Sen. Diana DiZoglio this week would expand local veterans aid programs by providing “emergency financial relief,” speeding up assistance at a time when city buildings are closed and taking pressure off communities which typically pay a quarter of local veterans’ program costs.

DiZoglio said it would also address longstanding problems with how veterans aid is delivered.

“This is a bill that will not only provide our veterans with much needed emergency aid but also start a long overdue conversation about how our veterans are currently accessing benefits and how we can make this system more efficient and effective in its service to those who served us,” said DiZoglio.

Haverhill resident and Vietnam veteran Ralph T. Basiliere, who originally brought the problem to DiZoglio’s attention, pointed to a similar proposal that was approved in Minnesota. He said, “Veterans have proven particularly vulnerable in this crisis…Efforts to aid them are desperately needed.”

DiZoglio’s legislation builds on state law that delivers money for food, housing, fuel, clothing and medical care through a partnership between the state Department of Veterans’ Services and local veterans’ service officers. DiZoglio said the legislation supplements that aid as COVID-19 has created financial distress for veterans not anticipated under existing law, known as chapter 115.

She added, social distancing has added an obstacle because veterans are typically interviewed by local veterans’ service officers and those offices are now closed.

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