New Jersey Governor Signs Bills Supporting Veterans, Military Families
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) last month signed legislation creating a fund to support National Guard members and their families experiencing financial difficulties, particularly during deployments.
The bill, A-2286, will allow state residents to voluntarily contribute to the New Jersey National Guard State Family Readiness Council Fund by checking a box on their yearly income tax forms, reported phillyBurbs.com. The fund will provide support to Guard members and their families when a wage earner has temporarily left civilian employment to be placed on active military duty, and following deployment as well.
Donated funds will be distributed by the New Jersey National Guard Family Readiness Council, a nonprofit devoted to the families of deployed Guard members. The council provides education, counseling, financial planning and other support services.
The second bill Christie signed establishes a permanent, 24-hour hotline to assist veterans coping with post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues.
The legislation, S-1731, will provide an annual appropriation for the Veteran-to-Veteran Peer Support Program hotline, which has been run for the past six years by the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs in conjunction with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
The free, 24-hour telephone helpline provides access to a comprehensive network of mental health professionals specializing in post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other emotional and psychological disorders. The peer counselors are trained in other veterans’ issues as well, including marriage and family life, substance abuse and stress management.