Every year, over 15,000 servicemembers transition out of the Armed Forces in San Diego and about half stay here as they begin civilian life. San Diego is also home to one of the nation’s largest populations of homeless veterans. We owe it to them, and to every veteran, to ensure they have an affordable place to live, and access to the care and benefits they earned through their service. As a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I’m working to honor our promise to our heroes. I helped craft and pass the Forever GI Bill, which gave veterans flexibility to access the educational benefits they earned when they need them—including my bill that gives Purple Heart recipients their full education benefits. That’s just one way we can honor our nation’s heroes. We also need to reduce the stigma surrounding veteran mental health and ensure veteran families have the resources they need to support veterans when they return home. We also must explore options like telehealth and expand the network of mental health professionals at the VA. We must keep our promises to the men and women who volunteered to fight for our freedom and security― just as they served us.
Scott's Veterans Plan
Since coming to Congress, I have helped pass the VA Accountability Act to improve services and care for our veterans, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act to improve mental health care, and the Veterans Choice Act to let our veterans access care outside the VA if their local VA is not sufficient. Even with this progress, there is more work to do for our veterans.
Getting Every Veteran a Job
Our veterans are hard-working, well-trained, and possess the management skills that many employers are seeking in employees. In Congress, we need to help veterans transfer their skills from the military workforce to the civilian workforce.
- Allow veterans to use education benefits for apprenticeship programs.
- Reduce the recertification burden for veterans.
- Expand hiring opportunities for veterans at solar and renewable energy companies.
- Allow homeless veterans to be eligible for job training programs through the Department of Labor.
- Veteran Employment Transition Act, which incentivizes small businesses to hire veterans by giving tax credits for hiring recently discharged veterans.
- H.R. 2551, the Veterans’ Entry to Apprenticeship Act
- H.R. 344, Manufacturing Jobs for Veterans Act
- H.R. 3286, HIRE Vets Act
- H.R. 3312, Benefits Network Act
Honoring the Earned Benefits Promise
We owe it to the men and women of our Armed Services to follow through on the commitments made to them. We must also review and make improvements to benefit programs that are not providing appropriate support for servicemen and women, veterans, and their families.
- End the “Widow’s Tax” which unfairly penalizes military surviving spouses.
- Make veteran cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) permanent.
- Allow service-disabled veterans to receive both military retired pay and disability compensation.
- H.R. 303, Retired Pay Restoration Act
- H.R. 507 American Heroes COLA Act (113th)
- H.R. 333, Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act
- H.R. 315, Filipino Veterans Promise Act
- H.R. 483, Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act of 2015
- H.R. 915 Voices for Veterans Act
- H.R. 1594, Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act
- H.R. 1598, Veteran Spouses Equal Treatment Act
- H.R. 1384, Honor America’s Guard-Reserve Retirees Act
- H.R. 1845, Military Family Leave Act
- H.R. 1948, Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act
- H.R. 3278 Veterans Dignified Burial Act
Supporting Quality Education for Veterans and their Families
Part of ensuring that our veterans are able to find gainful employment and pursue the American Dream is making sure that they and their families have access to high quality education. Veterans education benefits should be improved to expand the number of schools veterans can attend and schools can take steps to better incorporate veterans into their communities.
- Provide in-state tuition to veterans on the GI Bill.
- Promote student veteran resource centers on college campuses.
- Address the broader need needs of being a student veteran.
- H.R. 182, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to permit the centralized reporting of veteran enrollment by certain groups, districts, and consortiums of educational institutions.
- H.R. 456, Reducing Barriers for Veterans Education Act of 2015
- HR. 2008, GI Education Benefit Fairness Act
Ending Veterans Homelessness in San Diego
San Diego is home to one of the nation’s largest populations of homeless veterans. This is unacceptable. We must do more to ensure that our veterans have safe, stable places to live and build a life after completing their service.
- Advocate for more HUD-VASH vouchers that are appropriate for San Diego’s housing market and work with the San Diego housing stock to ensure they can be used as intended.
- Support local pilot programs for permanent, non-transitional housing.
- Improve transition services between active-duty and veteran status.
- Get San Diego its fair share of funding to address homelessness by making changes to the Department of Housing and Urban Development funding formula.
- Ensure that veterans have fair access to housing assistance through the Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Expand home foreclosure protections for veterans and their families.
- Shelter our Service Members Act to provide senior veterans permanent, non-transitional services through local non-profit organizations.
- H.R. 252, Comprehensive Homes for Heroes Act of 2015
- H.R. 501 Veterans and Servicemembers Employment Rights and Housing Act of 2015
Ensuring Veterans Access to Quality Healthcare
Recent scandals have rocked the VA and have brought to light the need for substantial oversight and reform. I am committed to improving VA service and holding the VA accountable. We must do everything in our power to restore trust and confidence in the VA and to ensure that our veterans are receiving the highest level of care possible.
- Integrate DOD and VA healthcare information.
- Reform the culture of complacency and acceptance of poor performance at the VA.
- End the stigma around mental health care and reduce the rate of veteran suicide.
- Allow treatments to follow the patient from DOD to VA healthcare facilities.
- Increase NIH research funding to study mental health.
- Allow veterans and their families who were exposed to toxins to get the health care they deserve.
- 21st Century Care for Military and Veterans Act, to increase access to telehealth and remote health services in TRICARE and the VA.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Month, designating the month of June 2015 as National Post- Traumatic Stress Awareness Month and June 27, 2015 as National Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Day – noting the stigma that comes with calling it a “disorder.”
- Marriage and Family Therapists for Veterans Act, to expand veteran access to mental health professionals at the VA by opening hiring practices to all accredited Marriage and Family Therapists
- H.R. 1735, National Defense Authorization Act of 2016
- H.R. 421, Classified Veterans Access to Care Act
- H.R. 203, Clay Hunt SAV Act (mental health)
- H.R. 572, Veterans Access to Community Care Act of 2015
- H.R. 1101, Viral Hepatitis Testing Act of 2015
- H.R. 1247, Improving Veterans Access to Quality Care Act
- H.R. 1356, Women Veterans Access to Quality Care Act
- H.R. 1496, To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the access to child care for certain veterans receiving health care at a facility of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- H.R. 577, To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to use existing authorities to furnish healthcare at non-Department of Veterans Affairs facilities to veterans who live more than 40 miles driving distance from the closest medical facility of the Department that furnishes the care sought by the veteran.
- H.R. 1602, Nurse Staffing Standards for Patient Safety and Quality of Care Act
- Veterans Choice Act (113th)
- HR 1994, VA Accountability Act
- H.R. 2104, America Cures Act
- H.R. 2123 Enhancing Veterans’ Access to Treatment Act
- H.R. 2894, CARE for All Veterans Act (9/11 related injuries and mental health)
- H.R. 2974, Veteran Continuity of Care Act
- H.R. 969, Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2015
- H.R. 1769, Toxic Exposure Research Act
More on Veterans
Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) announced changes to veteran education benefits, which became law as part of the Forever GI Bill, will go into effect tomorrow, August 1, 2018. The Forever GI Bill also included a provision written by Rep. Peters to make all Purple Heart recipients eligible for full education benefits, regardless of how long they served active-duty.
Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters’ (CA-52) bipartisan bill to extend education and career counseling to all deployed servicemembers passed the House. The Reserve Component Vocational Rehabilitation Parity Act extends Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to reservists and guardsmen who are called to serve during times of war or national emergency.
The House Veterans' Affairs Committee last week voted to advance several measures that would expand benefits for veteran military personnel and reservists.
The Reserve Component Vocational Rehabilitation Parity Act (H.R. 5538), introduced by Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., would expand eligibility for vocational rehabilitation and employment programs to reservists called into active service under involuntary deployment orders to the site of a national emergency or for pre-planned combat support missions.
Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters’ (CA-52) bipartisan bill to provide guardsmen and reservists the same educational and employment benefits, regardless of how they were called to serve, passed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Currently, two reservists serving side-by-side on active duty may not receive the same vocational-rehab benefits simply because of the authority under which they were mobilized.
World War II Army Air Corp veteran and La Jolla resident Milton Blackstone — highly decorated for his military service — recently received yet another special honor. In the La Jolla office of Congress member Scott Peters on June 18, Blackstone had commemorative ribbons replaced with medals.
Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) joined his colleagues to pass the “Blue Water” Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, correcting a decades-old wrong and ensuring that Navy veterans who served offshore during the Vietnam War are entitled to the same benefits as other veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
“You mean it gets better?” a female veteran asks Olga, a certified peer specialist working at the Department of Veterans Affairs. For the last decade, Olga has served as an integral part of the VA’s peer specialist program in Dallas. After going through the dizzying process herself as an Army veteran, she wondered how other veterans experiencing severe mental health episodes were managing to get the care they needed.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Congressman Scott Peters‘ (CA-52) amendment to prohibit the Trump Administration from gutting funding for veteran homelessness programs. The amendment was included in a larger package of appropriations bills, which Peters supported, that fund energy research, military construction, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. When signed into law, this legislation will provide funding through the end of the fiscal year.
Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) released the following statement following the unanimous passage of his bipartisan legislation to increase transparency and promote competition for Medical/Surgical Prime Vendor (MSPV) program in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs health care system:
This week, Representatives Scott Peters (CA-52) and Mike Coffman (CO-06) introduced H.R. 5830, the ‘Veteran Partners’ Efforts to Enhance Reintegration (PEER) Act’. The bill authorizes the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) to expand the peer-to-peer counseling program to better address the complex mental health care needs of veterans.