In advance of Veterans Day, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced introduction of the Access to Military Service Records Act (H.R. 4325), legislation which would eliminate the fee associated with obtaining military records.
“No veteran should not have to pay the government for evidence of their sacrifice and service,” said Congressman Higgins. “This fee is inexcusable and should be eliminated.”
The Department of Defense transfers a veteran’s service record to the National Archives sixty-two years after they are discharged from the military. Unless a request for a record is made for the purpose of obtaining benefits, a veteran or the next of kin may be required to pay up to $70 for a copy of the record.
Congressman Higgins office routinely receives requests for military files from World War II and Korean War veterans and families impacted by this unjust policy. A veteran’s military file contains information regarding military assignments, qualifications, training and awards received. It may also contain names of fellow soldiers and details of heroism during battle. Veterans or family members often request access to military records to research family history or determine eligibility for benefits or military service medals.
Higgins is a staunch advocate for Western New York veterans. He fought to keep the Kids Korner child care center in the Buffalo VA open; introduced legislation that removes the expiration date for G.I. Bill education benefits; supported a community effort to end veteran homelessness in Western New York; teamed up with local veterans on a project adding the names of 280 local veterans killed in action during the Vietnam War to the Purple Heart Hall of Honor; and routinely pays tribute to local veterans including presenting over 50 medals to WWII veterans on the 71st anniversary of D-Day.
Veterans in need of assistance with obtaining records, medals, benefits or other federal matters are encouraged to call Congressman Higgins’ Buffalo office at: 716-852-3501.