HIGGINS SEEKS TO ELIMINATE FEE FOR VETERANS’ MILITARY RECORDS
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced legislation that would eliminate the fee charged to veterans to access their military records from the National Archives, the Access to Military Service Records Act of 2015 (H.R. 4159). The announcement coincides with the anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II, which happened 74 years ago today.
Military service records for veterans, like those who served in World War II, are moved to the National Archives from the Department of Defense sixty-two years after the veteran is discharged. According to the National World War II Museum, there are 855,070 World War II veterans alive today, with 44,254 residing in New York State.
The Access to Military Service Records Act was introduced on December 2nd, 2015. Congressman Higgins recently spoke about the legislation on the House Floor.
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The Department of Defense transfers a veteran's service record to the National Archives sixty-two years after they are discharged from the military. One-hundred-thousand archived records per year are requested to determine eligibility for a medal, to research one's medical history, or to request a change in discharge status.
The Department of Defense provides records to veterans for free. But once the records are sent to the Archives veterans are charged twenty-five to seventy-five dollars for a copy of their file.
Mr. Speaker, this is unacceptable that a veteran should have to pay the government for proof of their sacrifice and service. What's more, this fee is levied on veterans who are most likely living on a fixed income.
This fee is unnecessary and inexcusable, and I ask my colleagues to support legislation that I am introducing today to eliminate it.
Congressman Higgins is a staunch advocate for those who have served our country. In 2015, he introduced legislation to remove time limits for veterans to use their G.I. Bill education credits, and successfully fought to keep the Kids Korner Child Care center open at the Buffalo VA Hospital. On the eve of the 71st anniversary of D-Day, he presented over fifty service medals to WWII veterans and their families. Earlier this year, Congressman Higgins announced over 280 Western New York veterans who were killed in action during the Vietnam War would have their names added to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor to remember their ultimate sacrifice.