Representatives Duckworth and Issa’s Bipartisan SERV Act Would Help Protect Veterans from Fraud and Abuse

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–November 10, 2015.  Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (IL-08), a Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and former Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (CA-49) today reintroduced their bipartisan Support Earned Recognition for Veterans (SERV) Act to better protect Veterans and their earned benefits from fraud and abuse. The SERV Act would ensure benefits—including federal contracting preferences—that are reserved for Veterans who have sacrificed in service to our nation can no longer be claimed by undeserving individuals who have never actually served in the Armed Forces.

“When it comes to honoring and protecting our Veterans and their benefits, we owe much more than the partisanship and gridlock we’ve become accustomed to in Washington,” said Congresswoman Duckworth. “Congressman Issa and I are working closely to pass our SERV Act to close legal loopholes that allow unscrupulous individuals to dishonor and diminish the sacrifices true Veterans make on behalf of our nation. I am committed to stopping people from disgracefully bilking Veterans out of their hard-earned benefits and to ensuring that taxpayer dollars go to the brave men and women who truly deserve them.”

“Each year, the federal government offers hundreds of millions of dollars in small-business contracts to service-disabled veterans so that they can grow their small businesses while providing the government with needed services and goods,” said Rep. Issa. “Those who never actually served our country are not – and should not be – entitled to receive this special status.  This loophole must be closed to reduce these egregious abuses and prevent taxpayer dollars from being inappropriately awarded to non-veterans.”

Overly-broad definitions and other flaws in the current Veterans benefit system allowed at least one IT contractor to secure a special service-disabled designation roughly 27 years after a claimed ankle injury at a military preparatory school that didn’t stop him from later playing Division 1 football for the University of San Diego. The contractor, who never served this country or enlisted in our Armed Forces, used the designation to help secure federal contracts—worth as much as $500 million—that Congress set aside solely for Service-Disabled Veterans. The Duckworth-Issa SERV Act would eliminate the existing loophole so only individuals who are truly disabled and have served in the Armed Forces are eligible for these types of benefits. The bipartisan bill does not affect individuals who attend service academies, enlist in the Armed Forces or are commissioned officers.