The Villages Voice - June 2015

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Veterans Corner

by Neal Yarosz, Manager Sumter County Veteran Services

Veterans Corner THE 2015 FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE SESSION There are several veteran-related bills that were passed by the House and Senate and will be placed before Governor Scott for signature.  If signed, most will take effect July 1, 2015.  Among the highlights:  
  • HB 27 & SB 1398 -- Authorizes word “Veteran” to be exhibited on driver license or identification card of veteran.  Replaces the “V” for Veteran option currently available.
  • HB 35 & SB 7028 -- Out-of-State Fee Waivers for Veterans & Dependents: Revises last year’s Congressman C.W. “Bill” Young Veteran Tuition Waiver to include spouses and children using sponsor’s GI Bill benefits.
  • HB 51 & SB 132 -- Authorizes veterans to provide the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles alternative documentation for renewal or replacement of disabled parking permits.
  • HB 329 & SB 112 -- Authorizes the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to issue Combat Action Ribbon, Air Force Combat Action Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross license plates.  Adds Woman Veteran, World War II Veteran, and Navy Submariner plates.
  • HB 0185 & SB 647 -- Provides an exemption from public records requirements for certain personal identifying information of current or former servicemembers of military special operations units and the spouses and children of such servicemembers.
  • HB 801 & SB 0876 -- Adds a memorial to the Capitol in remembrance of the 241 members of the U.S. Armed Forces who lost their lives on October 23, 1983, in Beirut, Lebanon.
  DRIVING DISTANCE ELIGIBILTY FOR THE VETERANS CHOICE PROGRAM   The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amends its medical regulations implementing section 101 of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, which directed VA to establish a program to furnish hospital care and medical services through eligible non-VA health care providers to eligible veterans who either cannot be seen within the wait-time goals of the Veterans Health Administration or who qualify based on their place of residence.   VA published an interim final rule implementing the Veterans Choice Program on November 5, 2014.  Under current law, VA uses a straight-line or geodesic distance to determine eligibility based on place of residence.  This interim final rule modifies how VA measures the distance from a veteran's residence to the nearest VA medical facility.  This modified standard will consider the distance the veteran must drive to the nearest VA medical facility, rather than the straight-line or geodesic distance to such a facility.   Any questions, please contact Sumter County Veteran Services at (352) 689-4450.   Neal Yarosz, Manager                                                                                                 Sumter County Veteran Services