AMVETS in Action

VA Secretary, Lawmakers Swayed by AMVETS’ Campaign Against Cuts to VA Disability Benefits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: John Hoellwarth
National Communications Director
AMVETS (American Veterans)
(703) 628-9621
jhoellwarth@amvets.org

AMVETS National Headquarters, June 14, 2017 – Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin backed away Wednesday from a proposal to cut Individual Unemployability benefits for disabled veterans during a Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs hearing that followed weeks of efforts by AMVETS to kill the measure in its crib.

“As I began to listen to veterans and their concerns and [Veterans Service Organizations] in particular, it became clear that this would be hurting some veterans. This would be a takeaway from veterans who can’t afford to have those benefits taken away,” Shulkin told the Senate committee. “I am not going to be supporting policies that hurt veterans, so I would look forward to figuring out how we can do things better.”

Shulkin’s testimony directly follows an entire day during which AMVETS leadership visited all 100 Senate offices to advocate against the cuts and a letter signed by 57 members of Congress sent to Shulkin Monday citing and underscoring AMVETS’s concerns about rescinding benefits to 225,000 of our nation’s most vulnerable veterans.

The VA’s initial budget recommendation proposed to eliminate the Individual Employability benefit for veterans aged 65 and older. This benefit currently pays 60- to 90-percent disabled veterans at the 100 percent disabled rate if their service-connected disability prevents them from working. The justification for this proposal has been that veterans 65 are eligible for Social Security instead. But the veterans receiving this benefit are precisely those who have been unable to work because of their service-connected disability and are therefore able to collect very little from Social Security, if anything at all.

As a result of AMVETS’s advocacy and as of the end of Wednesday’s hearing, this change now seems unlikely to ever become law.

In conversation with Veterans Service Organization representatives toward the end of the hearing, Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs Chairman Sen. Johnny Isakson referred to the proposed cuts to Individual Unemployability benefits as “a non-starter” and acknowledged that “anyone else will pretty much tell you it’s a non-starter, too.”

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. amvets.org

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11 thoughts on “VA Secretary, Lawmakers Swayed by AMVETS’ Campaign Against Cuts to VA Disability Benefits

  1. Just read this press release today June 14, 2017. This is great news that AMVETS got Secretary Shulkin’s attention about how horrible the proposed IU cut would be for the most vulnerable veterans. We are so happy to read in your press release that the “change now seems unlikely to ever become law”. Secretary Shulkin’s proposal made no sense and was loaded with the fatal flaw of cutting benefits in half. My husband, who is 70 years old and is one of those veterans from the Vietnam war that has been unemployable since his war service in 1968. On12/24/16 he finally was awarded 100% disability income from the veterans administration of which 30% of it was IU benefits. The proposed bill would cut that income in half. The result of what happened to him in the military is why he only receives $268.00 a month social security. This demonstrates how a service connected disability prevented him from working most of his life. The cut would also cause him to lose his dental benefits, his right to PX to purchase food, and his status as a distinguished veteran in California.. Since we learned of the proposed cut he has been worried and stressed that he would lose his well deserved income. Reading your press release updating the situation has given us hope. Thank you

  2. Thank you so very much AMVET for all your hardwork for all the veterans. Without you, we may have our IU benefits cut off. I am very grateful also to the 57 congressmen who signed the petition to Sec. Shulking and to the Veterans Senate Committee who have supported us veterans. May our Lord God Bless you all and always give you rightful guidance in all you do and in the future.

  3. I thought I fought in vain and forgotten. But I don’t feel like that anymore. May the Lord continue to richly bless the AMVET and its members in a strong Almighty way, now and in the future.

  4. What can vets say, AMVETS took on Washington and won for our vets. Down the road the VA may cut the program for new awards, but I think anyone receiving TDIU will remain. Current recipients would collapse if they would lose the whole state and federal package. Viva la AMVETS

  5. Thank you for your tireless effort! It would have devastated our family. One question…there are 57 Representatives who signed the letter. Were all Congressmen invited to sign it? I am wondering, because my Representative is not on that list!

  6. Thank you for your good work. If the cut in benefits goes through my wife would lose her health care , our income would be cut by a third , we would lose the tax benefit on our home , and could not afford to keep our home. Thank you for remembering that…” no man left behind ” matters at home as well as in war .
    Thomas

  7. Myself and my wife are lifetime members of AMVETS and have used their VSO services. This is an organization that takes great pride in our veterans and they participate in various events benefiting our veterans. I would Iike to personally thank them for working so hard in saving the IU benefits for veterans from being cut. Great job. I would encourage anyone who is not a member to consider joining. They have many local AMVETS locations that allow veterans to meet, socialize and help one another. Again, thank you AMVETS and I know I speak for all of those veterans that could have been affected.

  8. Thank you AMVETS for your continued help in the current administration budget cuts. We vets are very thankful for your vigilance.

  9. Michael Striff ·
    “To withdraw this benefit from people who rely on that money would be very difficult to do”. This is the way he speaks. Very good at spin. What did he say? He said it would be difficult to do. Nothing you can grab onto here. He also incorrectly described IU as a retirement program. The intention is to describe IU as an unemployment program and convince the general public that “double dipping” is unfair. He knows it’s a lie but that’s the way he will sell it. I didn’t see any backing off here. I saw a man saying just enough to give us the impression he’s on our side. He’s not!

  10. To all good women and men that speaks up for those who sacrifice and gave all that they could for there country and are still giving, the elderly disabled veterans are 100% honorable and respected in my eyes, may GOD BLESS THEM ALL! Thank You AMVETS And keep up the GREAT WORK !!!!

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