Gov. Murphy signs legislation to help veterans more easily obtain nursing licensure and cover burial costs for more veterans
NEW JERSEY – As part of the Murphy Administration’s ongoing efforts to support veterans and their families throughout New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy Friday signed two bills into law to ease the path for veterans with certain medical training to become licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and to expand eligibility for veterans with limited incomes to have their funerals covered by the government.
“It is our duty as a State and as a society to support the veterans who have selflessly served in defense of our country,” Murphy said. “These new laws will allow us to honor their sacrifices and ease the burden on their families by expanding eligibility for funeral costs that are covered by county governments. Additionally, we are making it easier for other veterans to obtain civilian employment as licensed practical nurses by recognizing the medical training they received during their time in the military, which will also help bolster our statewide health care system.”
“The first bill relieves a burden on low-income families who seek to preserve the memory of their loved one’s life and service to our country,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Lisa J. Hou, D.O., The Adjutant General of New Jersey and Commissioner of Veterans Affairs. “The second piece of legislation is great news for the medical professionals within our services who are looking to apply their valuable skills outside the military.”
Veterans who are unable to pay for their funerals may have the cost of their burial or cremation covered by the county government. To allow more veterans to qualify for this service, the first bill (A-2493) expands discharge classification eligibility criteria from veterans who were honorably discharged to any veteran who is discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
The bill also clarifies income eligibility for these veterans as not exceeding 200 percent of the federal poverty level. To further expand where eligible veterans may be buried, the bill adds national cemeteries as a permissible burial sites.
Sponsors of the bill include Senator Joseph Cryan and Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, as well as Senator Andrew Zwicker and Assembly members Cleopatra Tucker and Herb Conaway.
“The VFW is glad this bipartisan bill is now going to be the law of the land for veterans who do not have the resources for a dignified burial,” said New Jersey State Commander Jay “Doc” Boxwell, Veterans of Foreign Wars. “The VFW thanks the legislators and Governor for allowing our most disenfranchised veterans who served their country in life to now have their country honor them and care for them in death.”
The second bill (A-2722) would ease the path to licensure as an LPN for honorably discharged veterans with applicable medical training from their time in the military. Veterans who completed the Army Practical Nurse Program or the Air Force BMTCP-4N051 with a 5 Skill Level or their equivalents will be eligible to apply for licensure in lieu of obtaining a diploma from a school of practical nursing.
This legislation recognizes the qualifications of veterans with medical training and makes it easier for them to obtain civilian employment after their military service while further expanding New Jersey’s pool of LPNs.
Sponsors of this bipartisan bill include Senator Jon Bramnick and Assemblywoman Michele Matsikoudis, as well as Senator Vin Gopal and Assembly members Alex Sauickie and Carol Murphy.
“The New Jersey Veterans Network is grateful to our legislative leaders and the Governor for signing A2722/S3191 into law,” said Michael D. Boll, Director of New Jersey Veterans Network. “The enhanced licensure system will provide our nation’s heroes with the opportunity to utilize their world class medical training to continue to give back to their communities as nurses in the civilian workforce here at home.”