FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John Hoellwarth
National Communications Director
AMVETS (American Veterans)
AMVETS Deeply Concerned by President’s Proposed Cuts to Veteran Benefits
AMVETS National Headquarters, May 24, 2017 – While AMVETS (American Veterans) is thankful for President Trump’s proposed 6 percent increase in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ fiscal year 2018 discretionary budget, AMVETS leadership is deeply concerned by the proposed cuts to earned benefits for perhaps the most vulnerable segment of the veterans population.
The Trump administration’s budget proposal contains a provision to cut Individual Unemployability (IU) benefits for seriously service connected disabled veterans aged 65 and older. This would steal a large percentage of a wounded, injured or ill veteran’s compensation.
The argument for this cut is that these senior citizens would be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits at age 65. That argument is flawed because these veterans have largely been disabled, out of the work force and not paying into Social Security for many years before reaching 65. Many have been severely disabled as a result of their military service and unable to work since the day of their discharge.
Such a misguided move would wrongly take away about $1,200 a month from a single veteran rated at 90 percent disabled and already determined to be unable to work because or his or her military service. The monetary loss rapidly increases for veterans with lower disability ratings. In all, this proposal threatens to strip benefits from more than 225,000 senior citizen veterans who’ve been seriously disabled as a result of their military service.
AMVETS strongly opposes this proposed cut and calls for its immediate withdrawal.
This cut, along with cuts to Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for veterans, is being used to assure funding for a “choice” program that has yet to be adequately developed, let alone tested and proven.
AMVETS is the nation’s largest and oldest Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization that is open to and fights for all veterans who served honorably, including reservists & guardsmen. AMVETS has been a nonpartisan advocate for veterans and their families for more than 70 years.