Helps Military Families in Greatest Time of Need
(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Nelson Albano and Valerie Vanieri Huttle to ease the burden of costs many military families' bear when it comes time to lay a beloved veteran to rest was approved on Thursday in an afternoon Assembly session.
"Serving their country fearlessly, making the ultimate sacrifice of their lives and time away from their families to protect the freedoms we enjoy, our veterans deserve all of the support we can give them," Albano (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland).
Under current law, if a war veteran dies without leaving means sufficient to cover funeral expenses, the veteran's county of residence is responsible for burial up to a cost of $250. This bill (A-1898) would provide additional help for the burial or cremation of all indigent veterans, including those who did not serve at a time of war. Under the bill's provisions, the state would be required to cover burial and cremation costs above $250, but total costs would not exceed $1,250 for cremation or burial.
Vanieri Huttle said the amount offered to veterans with the enactment of this bill is nominal compared to their invaluable service. "It is proper and fitting that our military families be given support in this way for their years of service and dedication to their country.
The county medical examiner or designees would be responsible for the positive identification. The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs will notify the supervisor of veteran's internment or county medical examiner regarding determination of veteran status. Internment, under this legislation, would be provided in a county veteran's cemetery or, if appropriate, the Brigadier General William C Doyle Veterans' Memorial Cemetery.
The bill passed 75-0. An identical measure is under consideration in the Senate.