Disabled veterans will now have help from a bill that was finalized into law this month that includes some big promises and improvements in Veterans Affairs.
The legislation, which President Barack Obama signed into law on Oct. 13, includes and expansion of legal protections for employment and re-employment plus more financial protections for service men deployed or mobilized. It includes a provision granting service members the right to sue people or companies that violate the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
Previous violators of the act were not subject to penalties, but the new bill sets fines of up to $55,000 for a first-time offense and up to $110,000 for subsequent offences. Individuals who believe their rights were violated can now sue for civil damages and attorney fees.
“Veterans across the country will see their benefits improve,” said Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Many of these provisions were pending for some time, and I am pleased that they have now become law.”
The bill also includes language to help disabled veterans access automotive grants, help homeless veterans with childcare and increase health insurance for disables veterans.
The bill “will make a big difference in the lives” of many veterans, said U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, D-Cal., chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
For auto and home leases, the law requires any unpaid balances be adjusted to the date of termination and not the end of the next billing period. It also waives any early termination fees for when home leases are broken because of deployment.