TRENTON – A committee substitute bill sponsored by Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Troy Singleton, Senator Patrick J. Diegnan and Senator James Beach that would provide some individuals who do not meet the definition of a disabled veteran or veteran under current law to be entitled to Civil Service preference benefits advanced from the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee yesterday.
“In New Jersey, veterans already receive special tuition and property tax benefits, so expanding Civil Service benefits to disabled veterans and veterans is just another way to make New Jersey even more veteran friendly,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “Certainly, one must be qualified for the job, so while their military service enhances their chances for employment, it in no way diminishes the skills or experience that is expected in any Civil Service job. These are highly motivated men and women and we will be the better for having them in our civilian workforce.”
“We need to support our men and women who served in the military when they return home, said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “They have added skills and experience because of their specific training in the Armed Forces. Some of these men and women come back with injuries that make their return into the workforce even harder. This bill gives them, as well as non-disabled veterans, recognition for what they have already done and what they will add to our communities as civilian workers. It’s not just a pro-veterans bill, but a pro-good-business one.”
“Throughout the state we have veterans who have sacrificed so much for the safety and well-being of our country but remain ineligible for civil service preference benefits because of the time and nature of their service,” said Senator Beach, (D-Camden/Burlington). “Expanding the parameters for those who qualify for civil service preference will increase job opportunities for our veterans and is simply the right thing to do.”
Under provisions of this committee substitute bill, S-1640/1822 Scs, individuals who do not meet the definition of veteran under current law, but were separated from the Armed Forces of the United States following at least six months of federal active duty under conditions other than dishonorable and receives a passing score on the State Civil Service exam taken after the effective date of the bill, will be entitled to five additional points above the individual’s earned score.
Additionally, individuals who do not meet the definition of disabled veteran under current law, but were separated from the Armed Forces of the United States under conditions other than dishonorable and received a service-connected injury or is receiving disability benefits or disability retirement benefits under current law administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, or its successor agency, and receives a passing score on the State Civil Service exam taken after the effective date of the bill, will be entitled to ten additional points above the individual’s earned score.
The Adjutant General of the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs would be responsible for determining whether any individual seeking to be considered a disabled veteran or a veteran under this substitute meets the criteria. The Adjutant General would also be responsible to adjudicate an appeal from any individual disputing this determination.
This new benefit for veterans and disabled veterans who did not serve in time of war would apply only if an amendment to the State constitution would be approved by voters to permit such veterans to receive the benefit.
The substitute was released from committee by a vote of 5-0, and advances to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration.