Weekly Recap (May 29 – June 2)
Some of the top stories circulating the veteran community.
2018 budget proposes cuts to veteran benefits. 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.
Voice your concerns through our pre-filled letter to Congress:
Ben Carson remains steadfast amid cuts. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson informed veteran advocates this week that budget cuts to housing projects will not affect efforts toward ending homelessness among veterans. Carson informed the public that the department will look toward moving funds into “private investments.”
“In the old model, the government comes, plops down a bunch of money, and says build a place for veterans,” states Carson. “The new model is to bring in private interests, because you can get a heck of a lot more done, and you have people more interested in maintaining that community.”
The 2017 Housing Estimates are to be released this Fall.
White House complaint line goes live. President Trump’s anticipated hotline for veteran complaints launched June 1. The purpose of the line, as stated by a Department of Veteran Affairs official, is to “collect, process, and respond to the complaints of individual veterans in a responsive, timely and accountable manner. It’s proposed to be fully operational by Aug. 15, providing 24-hour assistance.
“This could keep me very busy at night, folks,” Trump told supporters during a rally July 26 of last year. “This will take place of twitter.”
Veterans can reach the complaint line at 855-948-2311.
AMVETS interviews professional baseball player advocating for veterans. Sean Doolittle, pitcher for the Oakland A’s baseball team, explained to AMVETS his reasoning for standing behind veterans with ‘bad paper.’
“My dad was a navigator in the Air Force and active duty in the Air National Guard,” said Doolittle. “I hope that people see that we’ve really done our homework on this, and (that we) haven’t just relied on popularity and stature to promote our message. We’ve rolled up our sleeves and taken meetings with numerous people and organizations who have helped educate us further on this topic. Mental health care for those with less-than-honorable discharges isn’t a topic commonly covered by our mainstream media, so it’s great that Sports Illustrated picked up our op-ed (opposite the editorial page).
Secretary of Veteran Affairs David Shulkin mentioned during his ‘State of the VA’ address May 31 that the VA is currently ahead of schedule in constructing a program that provides mental health care for those with less-than-honorable discharges.