Legislation to assist disabled Hoosier veterans passed the legislature Thursday and will now be sent to Gov. Mike Pence to be signed.
Senate Bill 180, authored by Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, establishes the Veterans Disability Clinic Fund. The fund would provide grants to certain law schools that maintain a veteran’s clinic. The little to no cost clinics would allow law students to gain career experience by counseling or representing veterans in claim for disability compensation.
“It’s an unfortunate reality that many disabled veterans are unable to access the support they need,” Banks said. “Some veterans never even pursue disability compensation, due to the overwhelming costs of legal fees. The Veterans Disability Clinic Fund is an innovative way to help our service men and women while providing law students hands-on experience in their field.”
Under the legislation, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) would have to further study programs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injuries.
The best treatments and therapies for PTSD and traumatic brain injuries, as well as health care providers necessary to create the programs, along with the estimated number of Hoosier veterans who have PTSD or traumatic brain injuries, the analysis of available federal and state funding for this program, and the cost among veterans and economic impact of implementing the program are required to be reviewed by ISDH.
Not only will the state health department be required to conduct the studies, the bill requests the General Assembly set up a study committee to review veterans’ education, employment, medical care, pension and compensation.
Erika Brock is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.