House passes Paul bill to expand access to benefits for veterans and their families

OLYMPIA –On Thursday, February 13, the Washington House of Representatives passed legislation sponsored by Representative Dave Paul, D-Oak Harbor, to expand access to certain benefits for veterans and their children.

“Paperwork can take significant time,” Said Paul. “Veterans and their families have sacrificed enough and shouldn’t lose benefits because of bureaucratic red tape. These bills provide needed support for these families and help them become more financially stable; these policies are the right thing to do.”

House Bill 2542 grants access to tuition waivers for children up to eight years after the determination of a parent’s 100% disability due to military service. Currently, children are ineligible after they turn 26, even if the disability assessment took years to complete.

House Bill 2543 grants access to in-state tuition for veterans and their children, even if the technical transition from military life to civilian life has not been officially completed. Currently, veterans and their families do not qualify for in-state tuition until all discharge paperwork is completed, which can take significant time.

Finally, House Bill 2544 ensures that all armed service personnel who earned a campaign badge or medal will receive full retirement benefits from the state of Washington. Previously, only veterans who received a campaign medal and served in specific conflicts were awarded these benefits. The bill also directs the Law Enforcement Officers’ and Firefighters’ Plan 2 Retirement Board to study the impacts of extending these benefits to veterans who earned an expeditionary badge or medal.

“Our state has many veterans from all branches of the armed services,” continued Paul. “We need to do more to make life easier for veterans and their families. I am glad we’ve sent these bills to the Senate for consideration.”

Paul represents the 10th Legislative District. This district includes Island County, which boasts one of the highest concentrations of veterans in Washington.