ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
Oral Testimony by Invitation Only
The New York State Veterans' Affairs Committee evaluate legislative proposals addressing programs to assist New York veterans including ones funded pursuant to the SFY 2010-2011 budget. The hearing seeks to evaluate the State's role in addressing the needs of veterans and examining better means by which to assist veterans to locate and use veteran service providers including those who specialize in mental health services. It will particularly look at services currently available for veterans and what role, if any, New York State can play in connecting veterans to those services.
Please see the reverse side for a list of subjects to which witnesses may direct their testimony, and for a description of the bills that 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 by invitation only and limited to ten (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.
Committee on Veterans' Affairs
Prior to the enactment of Chapter 453 of the Laws of 2000 and Chapter 251 of the Laws of 2004, IRS stated that the Blind Veterans Annuity was a gift and not taxable. The Social Security Administration regarded it as income and reduced a recipient's Supplementary Securing Income dollar for dollar by the amount of the blind annuity. What is the federal policy today? Are the blind annuity recipients who receive SSI obtaining any benefit from the State annuity?
How many of the Division of Veterans' Affairs programs are being administered by other State agencies? Please identify each program and agency that is helping the Division with its functions. Do you anticipate that more programs under the jurisdiction of the Division are going to be operated by other state agencies?
What kind of cuts have been implemented by the Division of Veterans' Affairs to meet the requirements of the administration and the Division of the Budget? Have any programs been cut or downsized and, if yes, which programs?
What does the Division of Veterans' Affairs currently do to connect veterans to services available to them? How do the needs of veterans of different eras vary?
In your opinion, are there other effective methods of assisting veterans to obtain services that the Division has yet to implement?
Other state agencies, such as OASAS and the Department of Labor, offer veterans programs. How extensive is their direct collaboration with the Division? Do these and any other agencies that provide services to the veterans' community offer a link to the Division's website?
Under Section 345-a of the Executive Law, agencies of the state and political subdivisions are required to ask their clients their veteran status and military experiences. Clients that indicate they are veterans are supposed to be informed of the services available to them at the Division of Veterans' Affairs. Is this being done by all the state agencies? Are they asked by local agencies? Is there a current method to track such information? Are these questions asked by the state agencies and localities in forms that are filled out by the person seeking services?
According to Veto Message No. 6786 there is a Mental Health Service Council, which includes one member appointed on the recommendation of the Director of the Division of Veterans' Affairs. What are the duties of the Council? How many members are there and are any from state agencies? Was this Council created by law, regulation or executive order? Are there any reports from the Council available? How does it help the veterans' population? How is this Council affected by budget cuts?
Also mentioned in Veto Message No. 6786, is the Interagency Geriatric Mental Health Planning Council, which is required to consider matters including chemical dependence and veterans' issues and which includes the Director of the Division of Veterans' Affairs as a co-chair. What are the duties of this Planning Council? Are there any reports available? How does this help the veterans' population? How is this Council affected by budget cuts?
What programs does the Office of Mental Health operate that relate to the veterans community? How would the public know about these programs? How are they affected by the budget cuts?
How does the Office of Mental Health identify their clients to participate in the veterans programs offered by the agency? Does the Office provide a link to the Division of Veterans' Affairs website? If not, why not?