Congressman Glenn Thompson hosts roundtable on Central PA Veterans Affairs

Local News

CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — American veterans risked everything to serve their country and officials in Washington want to know how they can best serve these men and women in return. U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania Glenn Thompson was in Bellefonte Tuesday for a roundtable discussion with veterans from across Central PA.

“I see it as my duty as your representative to make sure that promises made are promises kept,” said Thompson.

Thompson credits collaboration with the military community for the passing of recent legislation, such as the National Defense Authorization Act.

“That came out of this type of listening, listening to constituents,” said Thompson.

The roundtable discussion, held at the American Philatelic Society, was an opportunity to continue veteran advocacy and hear directly from those impacted.

“I usually challenge folks to tell me what are their solutions too because you know the people who are closest to the problems and the issues, usually in their gut they know what would make things better,” said Thompson.

Mental health resources and health care eligibility were two top concerns for those at the table. Specifically, the veterans said income qualifications to receive health care are near the poverty line which hinders the amount of people eligible.

Thompson said another issue is veterans not signing up for benefits.

“A lot of individuals in the military, they don’t sign up with the Veteran’s Affairs immediately when they’re discharged,” said Thompson. “Unfortunately, when the time comes, years, maybe decades later, when they could benefit from VA services, there’s a gap there.” 

Thompson said an answer to that issue is advocacy and responsiveness.

“We’ve gone through some challenging times with the VA, but I do think we’ve made some significant improvements in say the past six years,” said Thompson. “That’s not to say we should be satisfied with that though.” 

Representative Thompson said the next step is to take the input received and analyze it to craft future legislation.

“I always look for homegrown solutions,” said Thompson.

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