President Obama signed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 into law in August, providing benefits to veterans and restricting protests of service members’ funerals.
The new law provides extended healthcare benefits to Camp Lejeune veterans and their families who have been diagnosed with a disease related to the base’s water contamination between 1957 and 1987.
The new law also prohibits protests at military funerals in the two hours before and after the service, and states that any protest must be held at least 300 feet from the military funeral. This law is in response to Snyder v. Phelps, 131 S. Ct. 1207 (2011), the U.S. Supreme Court case that upheld the Westboro Baptist Church’s right to protest at military funerals under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.
In addition, the law has provisions regarding waiving copayments for telehealth care, expansion of travel benefits for veterans receiving care from Vet Centers, rehabilitation for veterans with TBI, expanded eligibility for specially adapted housing assistance, improved assistance to disabled veterans living in a family member’s home, programs for homeless veterans, benefits claims processing, the duty to assist claimants in obtaining private medical records, and more.
(Posted to hoeferlaw.com September 2012)