Gov. Phil Murphy signed Assembly Bill 1477 into law Sept. 16, which would increase annual payments to veterans with certain disabilities resulting from their service.
The law will help approximately 200 veterans dealing with loss of sight, amputation of hands, feet or limbs, osteochondritis, multiple sclerosis, permanent paralysis in their limbs or certain priorities of the body.
Annual payments to these eligible veterans will increase from $750 to $1,800.
Before this new law, payments to veterans with certain disabilities covered under the Paraplegic and Hemiplegic Veterans’ Allowance program had not increased since 1981. Payments under the Blind Veterans’ Allowance Program had not increased since 1971.
“A lot has changed over the past several decades, and it is important for our state to keep up with the rising cost of living in our support for New Jersey veterans,” said Murphy. “Veterans who were disabled in the line of duty made an immeasurable sacrifice on behalf of our nation. Ensuring these veterans receive the financial assistance they need and deserve from our state is how we can honor that sacrifice.”
Brig. Gen. Lisa Hou, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, said this benefit will help veterans in the Garden State who are grappling each and every day with some of the most catastrophic physical injuries resulting from wartime service.
“This benefit will certainly support the quality of life of those who have sacrificed so much for our country,” said Hou.
The bill was bipartisan with sponsors across the aisle, including Sens. Linda Greenstein, D-14th District; and Michael Testa, R-1st District; and Assembly members Daniel Benson, D-14th District; Anthony Verrelli, D-15th District, and Raj Mukherji, D-33rd District.
“Veterans with service-connected disabilities sacrificed so much to protect our country and deserve compensation for their efforts,” said Greenstein. “Several decades have gone by since those payments to veterans have been increased. Considering the exponential increases seen in cost of living over the years, this is unacceptable. While the increase of compensation in this bill cannot fully repay the sacrifice our disabled veterans gave, it can hopefully provide some aid as they live out the rest of their lives.”
“I am proud this legislation will be signed into law. It is our duty to ensure the well-being of New Jersey’s veterans and their spouses,” said Testa. “Some veterans have suffered significant disabilities in the line of duty including permanent paralysis and loss of sight. This law will offer some much-needed financial relief and stability to these injured veterans and their loved ones during their time of need.”
The increase will take place on Jan. 1, 2023.d