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Hirono Introduces Bill to Make Key VA Information Accessible in 10 Most Common Non-English Languages

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced the Veterans and Family Information Act, legislation that would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to make critical information it provides veterans and their families more accessible for non-English language speakers. An estimated 4.2 million veterans in the U.S. are foreign-born or the children of immigrants, a share of the veteran population that has been steadily increasing.

“America’s veterans come from diverse communities across our country. The Veterans and Family Information Act celebrates that diversity and helps make sure veterans, their families, and their caregivers better understand veterans’ benefits and programs and how to access them,” Senator Hirono said. “Congress should always work to find new ways support veterans—who already gave so much to our country. I urge swift passage of this bill in the Senate, so we can deliver on this promise.”

Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Young Kim (R-Calif.) introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives, where it passed unanimously on June 15, 2021. 

The Veterans and Family Information Act would:

·         Require VA to provide the Department’s fact sheets in the ten most commonly spoken non-English languages in the United States, specifying that Tagalog and Spanish must be among the languages to make sure that veterans using VA facilities in the Philippines and Puerto Rico are able to access fact sheets in their first languages; and

·         Direct VA to establish a website that links to all the fact sheets of the Veterans Benefits Administration, Veterans Health Administration, and the National Cemetery Administration.  

The bill text is available here.