Minnesota House of Representatives


State Representative Bob Vogel

581 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

For more information contact: Chad Urdahl 651-296-5520

Posted: 2017-11-09
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Legislative Update

'Project Got Your Back' aims to improve care for veterans

Dear Neighbor,

I just want to send along a quick update on veterans-related issues as we honor the men and women who have served our nation’s armed forces on Veterans Day this Saturday.

First of all, some interesting work is going on locally to help veterans. LeSueur County is the first county in Minnesota to team up with Veterans groups to better coordinate the care veterans receive.

I recently attended a program pertaining to “Project Got Your Back.” The objective of the system they have worked on with veterans’ groups is to provide a method to relate providers of different types of care services so they can be more effective in coordinating support information. With this innovative method of following care, it is hoped veterans can receive better attention, and care providers can be more efficient in furnishing the services while working with the veterans. It is also designed to better coordinate and ensure everyone realizes the correct follow-up path so no one slips through cracks in the system. From what I could determine after seeing how it works, I believe this could prove to be a very innovative approach and provide a significant enhancement in setting a path for success. I’m looking forward to following its progress as it grows, so stay tuned. Visit www.projectgotyourback.org for more information.

At the state level, a number of new laws have been implemented to assist veterans. One of the most significant changes of late is to exempt military retirement pay from being taxed. That provision was one we led to law in 2015-16 and it became effective for the 2017 tax filing year. In many ways, Minnesota’s tax system has not been welcoming to veterans, and is not competitive with many other states in keeping retired veterans here, so this change is an improvement which hopefully will help in leveling the playing field for retired veterans.

The Legislature also led to law this year a number of other provisions to assist veterans. Some key changes include:

  • $1.449 million operational funding increase for Veterans Affairs Department programs and services to veterans.
  • Minnesota GI Bill expanded to include apprenticeship and on-the-job training benefits; and increases educational as well as apprenticeship and on-the-job training benefit amounts.
  • Increases Support Our Troops individual grant eligibility amounts from $2,000 to $4,000.
  • $500,000 to the Humanities Center for Veterans Defense Project grants.
  • Expansion of impersonation of military officer (“stolen valor”) to include any military member for the purpose of financial gain.
  • County boards authorized to appropriate money for veterans memorial anywhere in county.
  • $700,000 for Veterans Journey Home grants.

Thanks again to all those who have served or are currently serving in our military. The sacrifices you have made to protect us and to defend our freedoms are truly appreciated.



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