PHOENIX — Arizona this year worked to support military personnel and veterans through suicide prevention efforts, connecting those in need to crucial resources and providing funding for tuition reimbursement for Arizona National Guard members.
Governor Ducey in April signed H.B. 2488, directing the Arizona Department of Health Services to submit an annual report improving the tracking of veteran suicides in Arizona. The legislation, sponsored by Representative Jay Lawrence, will provide the state with critical data to help Arizona better understand and prevent veteran suicide.
Additionally, the Fiscal Year 2020 budget invested $1.2 million into the Be Connected program, which connects service members, veterans, family members, providers and helpers with resources to help veterans in need. The program’s work has resulted in more than 20,000 Arizonans connected to community resources by phone, in-person or online. The program also was showcased by the New York Times as a national model for improving outcomes and opportunity for veterans.
This year’s budget also invested $1 million to provide tuition reimbursement for Arizona National Guard members who complete qualifying higher education credits, helping hundreds of National Guard members pursue a postsecondary degree or diploma at a certified technical school or accredited public or private institution.
The Arizona National Guard tuition reimbursement program was zeroed out in FY 2010 during the Great Recession. The restored funds for the program offer up to $250 per credit hour and is not to exceed $4,000 in a one-year period. Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen who are currently serving, have completed their initial occupational training, are in good standing with physical requirements and have no pending administrative action are eligible for the program.