Measure Aims to Ensure Returning Combat Troops Get Care They Need
TRENTON — Legislation Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) sponsored to help provide an income tax credit to veterans who require psychological counseling and treatment upon returning home from war has been passed by the Senate.
Buono said the bill would help prevent suicides by returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“The immense stress felt by many of our returning war heroes is real, and can be just as deadly as combat itself,”said Buono (D-Middlesex). “But when it comes to seeking the psychological help that can literally mean life or death, bureaucratic hurdles and increasing expenses often mean many go untreated. Unless we make it easier for veterans to get this help, more and more veterans will view suicide as the only means of shedding the mental scars of war.”
Under the measure (S-1026), returning veterans would be eligible for a direct state income tax credit up to $10,000 of unreimbursed psychiatric treatment — counseling that is not covered by insurance. The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously, is also sponsored by Sen. Christopher Connors (R-Ocean).
“Veterans and their families should not have to worry that the expense of counseling will keep them and their loved ones from getting the treatment they need,” said Buono. “A direct tax credit can provide the financial incentive these veterans need to not only enter treatment, but get better.”
The bill now heads to the Assembly for further consideration.