Legislation intended to make it easier for military veterans to prove their eligibility for benefits, or decorations has been introduced by the congresswoman representing Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo Counties.
The Veterans Record Reconstruction Act would require the Department of Defense, working with the Department of Veterans Affairs, to develop guidelines for the use of unofficial sources of information when official records are incomplete.
In 1973, a fire at the National Personnel Records Center in Missouri destroyed an estimated 16 to 18 million service records, making it difficult to verify information needed for veterans benefits, or decorations.
The act would allow the use of things like postmarked letters, photos, and eyewitness accounts to fill gaps in records.
Democratic Congresswoman Lois Capps of Santa Barbara says her bill would help many veterans unfairly being denied what they deserved because of lost records.