HVAC Budget Hearing
National President Donald Larson and Assistant Director of Veterans Program Brian Condon attended a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing to review President Trump’s proposed FY2018 budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin explained the administration’s priorities for the next fiscal year that includes expanding the VA Choice Program, modernizing VA disability claims process, improving suicide prevention and programs tailored to meet the special needs of women veterans.
As mentioned in last week’s Newsbytes the proposed budget also eliminates the Individual Unemployability benefit payments to retirement-age disabled veterans. Under current policies, the Individual Unemployability program allows the VA to award payouts at the 100-percent disabled rate to veterans who cannot find work due to service-connected injuries, even if they are not deemed 100-percent disabled. The Administration has proposed stopping those payouts once veterans are eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. This cut would impact more than 225,000 veterans currently receiving this benefit.
Veterans receiving benefit checks from the VA would also have their annual cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) reduced or “round down” to the nearest dollar.
Members are urged to use the FRA Action Center on our website to ask their legislators to oppose these benefit cuts