Casey Bill to Help National Guard and Reserve Members Navigate Benefits
WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today introduced legislation to provide more information and assistance to members of the National Guard and Reserves as they and their families navigate the services and benefits available to them. Senator Casey’s Transition Assistance Advisors Act would expand this successful program to increase the number of advisors available to National Guard and Reserve Component members and their families
“Over the past decade, numerous programs and benefits have been created to make sure that servicemembers and their families are well compensated for their sacrifices,” said Senator Casey. “However, all too often, constituents inform me that it is difficult to get answers to questions about programs and benefits available to them. That is why I introduced legislation to increase the number of Transition Assistance Advisors available to help.”
Currently, there is at least one Transition Assistance Advisor (TAA) is each state, whose responsibility it is to coordinate resources for reserve component members and their families. TAAs help reserve component members and their families navigate the myriad of service programs provided by the VA, TRICARE, Veterans Service Organizations and other supporting agencies. Additionally, TAAs participate in councils and ad-hoc groups to resolve entitlement and benefit issues for the National Guard as well as coordinate with Family Support Specialists and Employer Support Groups.
Last year, Congress authorized 464,900 Guardsmen and women in the Army and Air National Guard; yet, there are only 62 TAAs in the nation. Therefore, on average one TAA would provide services for 7,498 Guard members and their families.
The Transition Assistance Advisor Act seeks to set the following TAA staffing guidelines:
· During contingency operations, the National Guard Bureau would be required to have at least one TAA for every 1,500 reserve component members in a state.
· During peace time, the National Guard Bureau would be required to have at least one TAA for every 5,000 reserve component members in a state.
These guidelines are similar to those employed by the National Guard Bureau to determine how many staffers are needed for its other Family Readiness Support Assistance programs. If applied today, the total number of TAA would increase to a total of 310 nationwide. This bill has been endorsed by the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS).
Senator Casey’s legislation is cosponsored by Senators Parry Murray (D-WA), Ted Kaufman (D-DE) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).