Governor George E. Pataki
Senator Joseph L. Bruno
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver
Subject: \"Peacetime Veteran\'s Buyback Bill\"
The existing state law concerning purchase of civil-service pension credit by veterans for their previous military service is flawed, inconsistent and unfair and should be amended.
The current law applies two totally different eligibility criteria within the body of the same law. One group of veterans is deemed eligible for benefits based solely on the time of their service (1963 to 1975) regardless of what they actually did while on active duty. Other groups of veterans who served from 1982 to 1984, in 1989 and in 1991, are deemed eligible only if they were awarded certain Expeditionary Medals, again regardless of what they actually did.
This inconsistency has created a situation where many veterans are excluded from benefits, while others who rendered similar and even lesser service to the United States are eligible.
Furthermore, the Expeditionary Medal is awarded for \"30 days consecutive service...\" or less, if the operation concerned lasted less than 30 days. Once deemed eligible by virtue of this commemorative award, however, the veteran may now claim up to three years of state credit.
Short of engaging in actual combat, which is not a qualifying criteria of the current state law, the service and sacrifice of our honorably-discharged veterans is roughly equal across the board. The United States Government does not make arbitrary distinctions amongst honorably-discharged veterans the way the State of New York has. We all served, we all deserve the same benefits.
We, the undersigned petitioners, urge you to support the passage of the Peacetime Veteran\'s Buyback Bill (formerly Assembly Bill a.6281, Senate Bill s.3214) which will remedy the unfairness of the existing law.
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