Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) announced the Assembly passed legislation she sponsored, known as the Patriot Plan III, to expand benefits for veterans and their families (A.8291). The plan expands laws passed in 2003 and 2004 to help New Yorkers who serve in the Armed Forces.
"The brave men and women who selflessly risk their lives to protect our country undoubtedly deserve all the help we can provide them and their families," Lupardo said. "This legislation ensures that we take care of the people who are now fighting for our country."
The plan’s benefit enhancements include:
- ensuring survivors of eligible public employees who die while on active duty in the Armed Forces receive the same death benefits and health insurance as survivors of all others who die while working as public employees; and
- reimbursing premium payments sufficient to assume the costs for $250,000 worth of Service Member’s General Life Insurance Program for members of the New York State organized militia during periods of active service.
Part of the Patriot Plan III includes a new "War on Terror" license plate to be issued, upon request, to veterans of the Persian Gulf or Afghanistan conflicts.
The state is currently negotiating contribution-free health insurance coverage for state employees and their eligible dependents during the period that soldiers are in action. In order to aid veterans and their families, who frequently suffer economically during times of conflict, the newly approved state budget allowed an enhanced wage credit for employers to target veterans for hiring within Empire Zones.
"New York’s soldiers have made great sacrifices for our country," Lupardo said. "This legislation supports our veterans and is only a small reflection of our gratitude for all they have given in the line of duty."