Assemblyman Jones: New Law Gives Veterans Easier Access to Benefits They’ve Rightfully Earned

February 1, 2019

Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) announced that a new law, which he helped pass so more veterans can gain access to benefits, is going into effect (Ch. 322 of 2018). The law ensures that veterans are given proper assistance and informed of the benefits they’re entitled to when dealing with state agencies.

“Veterans have made countless sacrifices to keep us and our country safe, and for that, we owe them indescribable gratitude,” Jones said. “We need to do everything we can to show the brave men and women who have served our nation how much they mean to us. North Country veterans shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get health benefits or information about the assistance they’ve earned.”

Jones supported the legislation as it moved through the Assembly last year. The new law requires state agencies and local governments to ask their customers whether they or a family member is a veteran to ensure more veterans learn about assistance and benefits available through the state Division of Veterans’ Affairs or local veterans’ service agencies. This information is kept private and is only used to inform the veteran of benefits and assistance they may not already be receiving.

Jones, who is a member of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, has been a staunch advocate for North Country veterans. He’s currently working to get financial support for the Battlefield Memorial Gateway project, situated near the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base and on the shores of Lake Champlain. The multiphase project will provide access to historic Crab Island, the burial place of soldiers who died during the Battle of Plattsburgh in the War of 1812, and Valcour Island, the site of a major Revolutionary War Battle.[1]

Jones also previously helped secure $100,000 for the North Country Veterans Association (NCVA) and took on the Santa Sprint in Rouses Point to support the North Country Honor Flight.[2] Further, he helped extend the Hire a Veteran Tax Credit so more local businesses can hire returning heroes (Ch. 58 of 2018).