A bipartisan bill introduced Thursday would provide overlooked female veterans with combat-related benefits after reevaluation of their service records for eligibility.
“For many years, women service members served valiantly alongside our military’s elite Special Operations Forces, risking their lives to help take out some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists while being denied official recognition for their combat duties,” Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, said.
“These women incurred the same hardships as their male counterparts, but tragically, they did not receive the same care from our VA or the recognition they deserve once they came home,” Sullivan said. “This is wrong and must be fixed.”
“I thank Senator Rosen for authoring this bill to fulfill our duty to these courageous American women and I thank our female service members who’ve fought and risked their lives for our country,” he added.
The act will amend military records of women veterans who deployed alongside Special Forces in Afghanistan and Afghanistan to reflect their roles on CST, which enabled female service members to deploy to combat zones before they were formally allowed to serve in front-line combat roles in 2015.
An Iraqi translator listens to a female US officer, as she makes a point to Iraqi police recruits at the main police academy in Baghdad 29 June 2003, during a seminar. (Sabah Arar/AFP via Getty Images)
Due to their status in combat, members of CST were not eligible for rank, benefits and health services upon completion of service. The Jax Act will allow those vets to now qualify for those benefits.
U.S. Spc. Johanna Landry, (R) from New York, a medic attached to the Alfa Company 2-6 Infantry, takes a break from patrolling as she rests with her fellow soldiers at a local police station July 14, 2003, in Baghdad. (Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)
SOAA representative Katie Armstrong told Fox News Digital that the act will go into effect as soon as it is passed, and vets can immediately apply for re-evaluation by the Veterans Association (VA) and can start receiving their benefits and payments “within months.” CST members will have two to three years to receive re-evaluation.
“Unofficially the CBO estimate is likely to be around $1-20 Million over 10 years, but from the perspective of SOAA, this is money that should have been budgeted for Special Operations soldiers from the beginning,” Armstrong said.