Congressman Andre Carson

Representing the 7th District of INDIANA
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Veterans

Across America, millions of brave men and women have served in our nation’s armed services.  They have left behind their families, friends and jobs to fight for our way of life around the world.  These veterans deserve the best we have to offer when they decide to take off their uniforms and return to civilian life.  I consider it one of my top priorities to work for our patriotic veterans to ensure they receive the health care, housing and educational benefits that they and their families deserve.

Tools for Veteran Job-Seekers

The Department of Veterans Affairs has developed a tool to help veterans access official information about their health records, military training and experience.  This tool allows veterans to manage their VA health care online and compile critical service records that can help them to job search or in their careers. For more information, please click here.

Helping Veterans Achieve Financial Stability  

Every year, thousands of troops return home from deployments overseas prepared to separate from military service and begin their civilian lives.  Many of these service members have spent their brief military service in the structured atmosphere of a military base and have never had an opportunity to find reasonably priced housing, manage day-to-day bills associated with living on a civilian income, or have yet to start saving for their futures.  This inexperience managing basic financial responsibilities puts both veterans and their families at a significant risk of foreclosure and unmanageable debt.

In 2011, I authored H.R. 535, the Military Families Financial Preparedness Act, to help military families achieve long-term financial stability upon returning to civilian life. This bill added a financial counseling component to the Department of Defense’s successful pre-separation counseling program, which has helped veterans and their spouses become familiar with important VA programs and better prepared them to seek an education and start a civilian career.  Under this legislation, pre-separation counseling sessions include information on budgets, saving, credit, and mortgages and will help veterans and their spouses to create a long-term financial plan.

This legislation passed the House as an amendment to the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act and was signed into law by President Obama.

Improving Mental Health Treatment

Today, our Armed Services continue to struggle with the stigma associated with mental illness despite ongoing efforts at the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs to increase screening, counseling and awareness. Too often, service members resist treatment and hide warning signs, attributing underperformance in combat and difficulty readjusting to civilian life to less serious causes.  In many tragic cases, undiagnosed mental illness and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) have resulted in domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse and suicide.

In an effort to improve mental health screenings and treatment, I authored H.R. 1942, the Service Members Mental Health Screening Act, which ensures that mandatory pre- and post-deployment screenings take into consideration health records from past units and past deployments.  These are omitted from many current screenings, allowing mental health issues to slip through the cracks and many of our service members and veterans to go without the treatment they deserve.  My bill will protects our men and women in uniform from oversights that prevent proper diagnosis and put them at unnecessary risk.

This legislation passed the House as an amendment to the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act and was signed into law by President Obama.

Assisting Unemployed Veterans

Today, the unemployment rate for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan remains well above the national average. This can largely be attributed to the fact that many veterans believe their military skill sets cannot transfer to a professional civilian career—a perception that is simply untrue. 

The Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Labor are working together with employers across the country to promote veterans hiring initiatives and job training.  To compliment their efforts, I voted for the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which establishes a job training program for veterans.  Those who have served bravely in our nation’s military deserve our help retraining for the modern American workforce.

Improving G.I. Benefits

Immediately following WWII, over 7.8 million veterans were able to obtain college and post-secondary educations free of charge. Today, these benefits only cover 70% of public and 30% of private post-secondary educational expenses, making it difficult for many veterans to afford a college education.

To ensure that veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan receive full educational benefits, I proudly voted to pass the 21st Century G.I. Bill, which will provide full, four year scholarships to all who have served in our nation’s Armed Forces since September 11, 2001. This drastic and long overdue increase in educational benefits will help our newest generation of veterans to receive the tools they need to build productive and successful lives for themselves and their families after leaving the military.

Providing Veterans with Adequate Housing

Disability and unemployment resulting from extended deployments have caused an unacceptably high number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to fall into foreclosure and homelessness. In order of support our veterans returning from combat, I voted for legislation that increases the number of homeownership loans available to veterans and boosts funding for counseling services and other resources to help our nation's homeless veterans.

More on Veterans

Jan 3, 2012

January 3, 2011

President Obama Signs into Law Two Bills Authored by Rep. André Carson

Carson Amendments Provide Significant Improvements to Programs Serving Military Families 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Over the weekend, President Barack Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, a bill that includes two amendments authored by Congressman André Carson (D-IN).

Dec 15, 2011

On November 15, Congressman André Carson joined members of the Indiana Congressional Delegation to request that the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action flag be flown at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

pdf Click Here to Read the Letter from Congressman Carson to Lucas Oil Stadium Regarding the POW/MIA Flag 

Jul 6, 2011

July 6, 2011  

CARSON praises white house for change in condolence letter policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman André Carson released the following statement today in response to President Obama's decision to reverse the White House policy of not sending condolence letters to the next-of-kin of service members who commit suicide.

May 26, 2011

NEWS RELEASE                                                                                  

 

May 26, 2011           
 

HOUSE PASSES CARSON amendments
Additions will expand mental health screenings, assistance for soldiers
 

May 25, 2011

May 25, 2011            

Carson amendment PROTECTS SERVICE MEMBERs’ MENTAL HEALTH

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed an amendment authored by Congressman André Carson that will improve mental health assessments for members of the U.S. military.

Feb 16, 2011

February 16, 2011

CARSON'S OFFICE DELIVERS VALENTINES TO VETERANS

INDIANAPOLIS - Staff from the Office of Congressman André Carson delivered approximately 500 valentines from area schools to veterans at the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis today.

The event gathers and delivers valentines made by school children to hospitalized veterans and began 14 years ago when Congresswoman Julia Carson represented the Indianapolis area.

Nov 30, 2010

November 30, 2010

CARSON: DEADLINE FOR RETROACTIVE STOP-LOSS PAY NEARS

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today Congressman André Carson urged eligible veterans and beneficiaries to apply for the retroactive stop-loss pay owed to them before the upcoming December 3rd deadline.

Eligible military personnel whose service was extended under stop-loss orders will receive $500 for each month of their extended service.

Oct 20, 2010

October 20, 2010

CARSON TO PUSH FOR ONE-TIME PAYMENT TO AID SENIORS, VETERANS

INDIANAPOLIS - After the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that it will not provide a Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) for 2011, Congressman André Carson said today that he will push for legislation to issue a one-time $500 payment to Social Security recipients.