Later this month, on Memorial Day, our nation will honor the brave men and women who died serving their country. It is appropriate during this time to pay tribute to those people who have fought to keep us safe and to preserve our freedoms. A bill that recently passed the Ohio House assists military veterans and their families overcome hardships that they face upon returning home, such as receiving proper benefits.
To simplify the process by which military veterans in Ohio and their families qualify for and attain things such as benefit forms, I co-sponsored House Bill 490. After working with the governor’s office and the Ohio Department of Veteran Services, I was happy to see the bill pass through the Ohio House with unanimous support.

Among other things, HB 490 makes it easier for county veteran service officers to access forms that are needed in order to process veteran benefits. Under current policies, simply accessing these forms could sometimes take up to 280 days, which can cause a great deal of uncertainty and confusion if a veteran is, say, applying for a home loan.

The bill achieves these goals by requiring that the county recorder’s office make available a veteran’s record of discharge to the county’s veterans service officer. This requirement helps to streamline the process of sharing discharge documents to make them more readily available to the people who are in the position to assist Ohio’s veterans.

Additionally, the bill makes changes to the Ohio GI Promise, which was created to encourage veterans from across the country to attend Ohio’s colleges and universities. HB 490 makes it possible for the spouse or dependents of a deceased veteran to receive in-state tuition rates as long as they reside in Ohio on the first day of enrollment. By providing this service, we ensure that no one is punished simply because their spouse or parent died before having the opportunity to attend college.

I strongly believe in keeping things simple. The provisions outlined in House Bill 490 simplify the lives of our servicemen and women upon returning from active duty. Our veterans put their lives on the line to protect our basic freedoms. They should not have to jump through hoops to receive proper acknowledgement.


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