NEWTON, NJ (Sussex County) — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) recently held a Veterans Resources Fair in Sussex County to connect North Jersey veterans with local, state, and federal agencies and community organizations, to help veterans and their families access critical resources including health care, employment opportunities, benefits, education, and more.
“Our nation’s brave veterans deserve to have access to the benefits and resources they’ve fought for and earned,” Gottheimer said.
Gottheimer was joined by the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the New Jersey Division of Taxation, the New Jersey Division of Unclaimed Property, the New Jersey Department of Treasury, Sussex County Division of Senior Services, Catholic Charities, Project Self Sufficiency, Community Hope, Operation Chillout, and the Vet Center Readjustment Counseling Services from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Gottheimer and his casework team spoke with veterans and their families to help address issues like cutting through red tape to access Social Security, VA benefits, past service medals, and more.
“To every veteran, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your service, for putting your lives on the line to defend our freedom, our families, and the greatest democracy the world has ever known. There is nothing more important in this job than my responsibility to have the backs of those who have served our great country. Whether that’s at the VA, a mental health issue, or helping a veteran get a job when you come back home,” Gottheimer said. “Please know this: after sacrificing so much, you should never struggle to get the care or recognition you have earned. These are not Democratic or Republican issues — they are principles of the country we live in, the one you helped protect, under the flag we all salute.
Since coming to Congress, Gottheimer has been fighting to ensure that veterans have access to the resources they earned. The first piece of legislation Gottheimer passed in Congress was to expand hiring of post-9/11 veterans, and he has also led legislation signed into law to address veterans and National Guard suicide.
Gottheimer has cut through red tape with the VA Community Care Network so that eligible North Jersey veterans are able to receive referrals for health care services at ImageCare Centers across the Fifth District and at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center — allowing for shorter drive times and greater access to care.
Recently, working with members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, Gottheimer helped pass the Honoring our PACT Act in the House of Representatives, to help veterans exposed to burn pits and toxic exposure — covering veterans dating back to 1991 and Operation Desert Storm, and through our more recent post-9/11 conflicts. Included in this bipartisan bill was Gottheimer’s key provision to address the mental health impacts of burn pits for veterans. Gottheimer’s provision directs the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to examine the possible relationship between toxic exposures experienced during service in the Armed Forces and mental health outcomes. Last week, the legislation passed in the Senate. It will return back to the House for a vote later this week.
Additional legislation Gottheimer recently fought for to help our nation’s veterans, service members, and their families includes:
- Boosting Education Access: The bipartisan Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act to help expand access to G.I. benefits for members of our military who serve in the National Guard and Reserves, as they do not receive the same access to vital G.I. Bill benefits.
- Expanding Mental Health Care Access: The bipartisan Student Veterans Counseling Centers Eligibility Act, which will expand access to mental health services for veterans utilizing their GI Benefits at colleges and universities through established Vet Centers.
- Boosting Education Access to Veteran Families: The bipartisan Colonel John M. McHugh Tuition Fairness for Survivors Act, which will require public colleges and universities to provide in-state tuition under the Department of Veterans Affairs Survivors’ and Dependents’ educational assistance program to the families of service members who die or become disabled.
- Supporting Veteran Families: The bipartisan Protecting Moms Who Served Act, which requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to implement a maternity care coordination program that coordinates, supports, and trains community maternity care providers to serve the unique needs of pregnant and postpartum veterans.