Tuesday, August 19, 2014


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Legislation to support veterans, service members and military families signed

ALBANY - Legislation to dramatically expand and strengthen services for veterans, active service members and their families was signed on Monday by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The new law (S.6887-A/A.9216-A) eases the transition to a new school for children of military families that relocate as a result of military orders, lowers the cost of higher education for Veterans receiving benefits under the GI bills, and offers military family members greater flexibility with professional licenses received from other states or jurisdictions. The new law also strengthens the supplemental burial assistance provided by the state to military families when a service member dies in combat or as a result of injuries sustained on the battlefield.

“Honoring our veterans, service members and military families for their service and sacrifice is one of our highest responsibilities as New Yorkers – and today our state is taking a tremendous step forward in how we support both these brave men and women and their loved ones,” Governor Cuomo said. “This new law is a comprehensive package of reforms that will benefit the members of the armed forces and those who support them in communities across the state. From helping children of military families succeed in school, to opening doors to spouses and loved ones in their careers and honoring the ultimate sacrifice with expanded burial assistance, this legislation is comprehensive and needed. I am proud to sign this bill into law today, and I thank the many legislators, advocates and community leaders who fought alongside us to make it a reality.”

Eric Hesse, Director of the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs, said, “This legislation was a long time in the making but thanks to Governor Cuomo’s tenacity and desire to make a difference for Veterans, military members and their families it is now a reality. These programs give Veterans and families what they’ve been looking for, an opportunity. It has been said that you recruit a Soldier but you retain a family and to that end, I applaud the Governor’s efforts to support Veterans, men and women in uniform and their families.”

Protecting Educational Opportunities:

To support the children of military families who transfer between school districts and states, this new law eases the transition between schools, and works to ensure that those children are afforded the same opportunities for educational success as other students and are not penalized or delayed in achieving their educational goals. Specifically, the new law:

  • Makes a transferring child’s transcript and immunization records available as required by the new school,
  • Allows for adjustments in state-specific course requirements and provides alternative means of completing required coursework in order to facilitate a child’s on-time graduation,
  • Authorizes students, in certain circumstances, to graduate with diplomas from their sending state,
  • Ensures that relocating families are not charged local tuition by a public school district if the child’s military parent lives outside of that district,
  • Allows custodians of military children with power of attorney to enroll a student in the absence of their military parent.

Honoring the Ultimate Sacrifice:

Under the law signed today by the Governor, families of service members from New York who were wounded in combat but died from their wounds outside the combat zone will qualify for a supplemental burial allowance. Under current law, only those deaths that occur in a combat zone qualify for the allowance. The bill also makes nonresidents eligible for the burial allowance if the deceased was a member of the New York Army or Air National Guard at the time he or she entered federal active duty status. This allowance offsets the family’s burial and funeral costs not covered by the federal government.

Supporting Professional Opportunities:

Adult family members of service members also face unique challenges, and New York is committed to ensuring that these individuals have access to employment opportunities that ease the burdens of relocation associated with changes of duty station. This bill will permit the spouse, domestic partner, or other member of the household of a service member to practice as a real estate broker or a real estate salesperson or obtain a barber or esthetics, cosmetology, natural hair styling and nail specialty license, if he or she has been licensed in another state and relocated to New York with the service member.