ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON WOMEN VETERANS
TASK FORCE ON WOMEN'S ISSUES
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
New York State has the fourth largest women veterans' population in the United States. Women veterans are a unique population, in that many do not take advantage of veterans' benefits, even though they have served in the United States military with honor. Many women veterans believe they are not entitled to such benefits. This hearing will explore how to increase women veterans' utilization of benefits, including services for homeless veterans.
Please see the reverse side for a list of subjects to which witnesses may direct their testimony, and for a description of the bills which will be discussed at the hearing.
Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency, postponement or cancellation.
Oral testimony will be limited to 10 minutes' duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible.
Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements.
In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee's interest in hearing testimony from all sources.
In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.
What do we know about the characteristics of women veterans in New York State? Are there differences in services and benefits available to female and male veterans? If yes, what are they?
Are all women veterans of the armed service eligible for the same benefits? If not, what are the differences? Are these benefits easily accessible? If not, why? What are the barriers to obtaining the benefits available to female veterans? How can the State of New York better assist women veterans to gain access to these benefits that they are entitled to?
In the past, when asked by benefit counselors whether they are veterans, service women have answered no, unless the question is phrased as "have you served in the U.S. Armed Forces?" Since the number of women in the military has increased over the years, how are women answering the question today?
What programs are available in New York State to help women veterans try to readjust from being a soldier to a civilian? After being in a combat zone, does the process of readjustment involve only the woman veteran or the entire family unit?
How many homeless women veterans are there in New York State? Are the numbers increasing? How does the proportion of women veterans who are homeless compare to men? What are the primary causes of homelessness among female veterans? What services and/or benefits are available to prevent homelessness? Once a female veteran is homeless, what services and/or benefits exist to alleviate this situation?
There are signs that veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are at a significant risk for Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other mental health problems. Are there services available to help women veterans deal with these problems? Are there specific treatment programs for women veterans? Does PTSD play a role in the homelessness of women veterans?
Almost one-third of women veterans say that they were sexually assaulted or harassed in the military. What affect does this experience have on the efforts of women veterans to readjust to civilian life? Where would these veterans go to seek help?
How much money does the Division of Veterans' Affairs spend on personnel costs compared to the amount of money allocated for benefits?
State veterans counselors receive professional training in veterans' benefits counseling, so that they are certified to file claims for individual veterans with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. How much money is allocated for training of these veterans counselors (both State and County) each budget year?