A bill was just introduced by Senator Heller from Nevada that would allow many Filipino veterans who served alongside American soldiers in World War II to have access to the same healthcare benefits that the American veterans have. Apparently, the issue up to this point has been that there is a scarcity of documentation of many of these veterans’ service. The bill would provide a process to follow for Filipino veterans to prove that they served in World War II and are thus deserving of veteran benefits.
Obviously, the exclusion of these brave Filipino veterans from benefits was not intentional or malicious, but rather due to poor record-keeping and an ardent adherence to policy prohibiting benefits being used by any who aren’t verified and documented veterans. However, the issue of overlooked Filipino veterans is not news to the United States Government. The issue has had ample opportunity to crop up over the last seventy years of legislative process. Senator Heller himself originally began working for legislation on the issue nearly a year ago.
Essentially, the bill allows Filipino veterans to provide what documentation they have and work directly with military historians to verify their information and find evidence that they were there and fought alongside the US. This will open up a world of options as yet unavailable to Filipino veterans who feel abandoned by the government they so willingly served, since many of them don’t have the standard forms and documentation required for a veteran to prove that he or she is entitled to veteran benefits.
This sort of reform brings hope to veterans everywhere who have felt short-changed or cheated when it came time for the government to pay the piper. We can hope that as awareness of issues like these continues to rise, that more legislation will be passed that will assist veterans in not only taking advantage of their benefits but also in proving that they qualify for the benefits they deserve. Technological advances and better record-keeping practices are improving the situation of new generations of veterans, and hopefully raising awareness of the condition of previous generations of veterans will lead to reforms in the way of making the lives of those honorable servicemen better.