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Cuomo eyes name change for NY veterans agency

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is once again proposing a new name for the state agency that assists veterans with benefit claims and appeals.

One of Cuomo’s 30-day budget amendments would rename the Division of Veterans’ Affairs as the Division of Veterans’ Services. The agency’s mission would remain the same.

The proposed name change for the agency was first included in Cuomo’s budget last year. In his 2018 State of the State booklet, his office explained that there is often confusion between the federal Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the state division.

The federal VA provides health care and other services. While the state works with the federal department by assisting veterans with benefit claims, the two agencies are separate entities.

“This confusion frequently leads to misdirected complaints to the division about claims processing delays at the federal level and management of federal medical centers,” Cuomo’s office wrote in the booklet last year, “and to an overall sense of confusion about the division’s designated role and value for veterans and their families in New York.”

Cuomo’s proposal to change the name of the Division of Veterans’ Affairs didn’t advance last year. The 2018-19 state budget didn’t include the change, and it wasn’t addressed during the remainder of the legislative session.

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