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Report: Expanding Veteran Eligibility for Pension Buyback

Current law permitting honorably discharged veterans employed by NY State and NYC to purchase or “buy back” up to three years of credit toward their pension at a reduced rate presently excludes veterans who served during the post-1975 Cold War era, and in Somalia, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Legislation to update eligibility requirements is pending in the NY State legislature as of the release of this report. A total of 69.72% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important.

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Report: Other Suggested Initiatives

Outside of the previously mentioned initiatives and suggestions, respondents offered the suggestions listed below.

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Report: A Marine's Story

An anonymous respondent[1] wrote his personal story in the comments section of the survey. The intent of this report is to give veterans a voice, and all comments related to the content of the survey have been included here. This Marine’s story is included below to allow him a public voice, and to inform readers about this and similar struggles that many NYC veterans face.

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Report: Contributors and Consultants

The individuals listed below contributed writing, research, and/or consultation for areas of this report. Individual contribution to one or more areas of this report does not equate complete endorsement of all positions and recommendations contained within this report by these individuals, the organizations they represent, or their employers. The content of this report represents collaboration between the NYC Veterans Alliance and members of the NYC veterans community, but not always complete consensus.

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Mayor de Blasio: Some Vets More Equal Than Others

Yesterday--perhaps to save face from the embarrassment of his otherwise complete reversal--Mayor de Blasio issued a deceptive Memorandum in Support of NY State Assembly bill A.6543, which proposes to amend the current and unfair pension "buyback" credit system for state and municipal employees to only add veterans of the war in Afghanistan to the long and convoluted eligibility criteria for this earned benefit.

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Mayor de Blasio's Reversal on the Veterans Equality Act

Mayor de Blasio seems to think that veterans are too expensive to receive the benefits they've earned. Today we learned that he has issued yet another Memorandum of Opposition to the Veterans Equality Act--this, after he held a special press event just before Memorial Day to announce that this time he would support it. Which is it, Mr. Mayor?

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Stop the Closure of 12 West at the Brooklyn VA Medical Center on July 1

Time is short, so we have to act quickly.

Please do the following as soon as possible:

  1. Sign our petition of the Obama administration.
  2. Contact Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand.
  3. Contact your Representative in Congress.

We need to let our representatives in Washington, D.C., know that IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE to reduce access to inpatient hospitalization for New York City's veterans for the simple reason that veterans' healthcare is too expensive. Please make your voice heard and demand that the Veterans Health Administration NOT close 12 West at the Brooklyn VAMC on July 1. The VHA must seek other outcomes and solutions that do not limit access to healthcare for veterans who choose the Brooklyn VAMC as their local and preferred healthcare facility.

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Remarks at City Hall: NYC Veterans Alliance Stands with the Public Advocate

Earlier today we joined NYC Public Advocate Letitia "Tish" James, Paul Rieckhoff and members of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and other veterans and veteran advocates at City Hall to call on Mayor de Blasio to support the proper resourcing of veterans affairs for NYC. Our delivered remarks were abbreviated due to time constraints, but below are the full prepared remarks for today's event:

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Testimony on PTSD Awareness

On June 16, Kristen L. Rouse testified at the City Council Veterans Committee hearing on a proposed resolution to recognize the month of June as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month in New York City, which parallels a U.S. Senate resolution recognizing the same nationally. Last week we stood with Veterans Committee Chair Eric Ulrich, MOVA Commissioner Loree Sutton, and veteran leaders and advocates on the steps of City Hall, united in the cause of supporting this important resolution. We further offered the following testimony:

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"No Veteran Should Ever Feel Alone with PTSD"

Yesterday we stood together at City Hall for the cause of PTSD awareness. Council Member Eric Ulrich, who chairs the City Council Veterans Committee, has introduced a resolution declaring June as PTSD awareness month for the city, which parallels a U.S. Senate resolution recognizing the same nationally.
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