March 24, 2009

Bingaman & Udall: NM to Receive Over $4 Million in Veterans Affairs Funding

Eligible Veterans Will Also Receive One Time $250 Payment

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall today announced that New Mexico will benefit from over $4 million through the Veterans Administration as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The recovery funding will be used to make needed investments at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque and for improvements at the Santa Fe and Ft. Bayard veterans' cemeteries. In addition, the Senators announced that New Mexico veterans may also be eligible to receive a $250 one-time payment.


Of the over $4 million New Mexico will receive for projects, the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque will receive almost $3.3 million dollars for renovations and upgrades. The Santa Fe Veterans Cemetery will receive $571,655 and Ft. Bayard Veterans Cemetery will receive $16,739 for improvements.


"The Veterans Administration for years had to postpone important projects. But because of this recovery package, we're now able to invest in our state's medical center and veterans cemeteries," Bingaman said.


"New Mexico veterans and their families deserve proper care and respect for their services to our nation," said Udall. "I am pleased we are able to help fulfill our obligation to them and improve our economy by directing over $4 million for necessary investments to the Albuquerque VA hospital and for improvements at our national cemeteries in Ft. Bayard and Santa Fe."


Also as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, New Mexico's Senators announced that the VA will make a one-time payment of $250 dollars to eligible Veterans and survivors to alleviate the effects of the current economy. The VA estimates $700 million in payments will be made nationwide, with payments beginning in June 2009.


To be eligible for the $250 payment, VA beneficiaries must have received compensation, pension, dependency and indemnity compensation, or spina bifida benefits at any time between November 2008 and January 2009.


No application is necessary and the VA will use its existing payment records to determine eligibility to the $250 payment.


Beneficiaries will receive their payments in the same way (either by direct deposit or mail) they receive their monthly VA benefits. The VA will inform beneficiaries and the public when releasing the payments.


Finally, the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center will join with other hospitals in the southwest in sharing $1.14 million to implement energy conservation measures, and it will share $10,000 with a handful of other medical centers for a study on the feasibility to adopting solar photovoltaic systems.