Contact: John Hoellwarth
National Communications Director
AMVETS (American Veterans)
AMVETS National Headquarters, December 17, 2018 – AMVETS (American Veterans) leadership is deeply concerned at the re-emergence of CBO-proposed cuts to earned benefits for the most vulnerable segment of the veterans population, and is calling on the Trump administration to publicly take these cuts off the table once and for all.
“We want the White House to immediately make a statement saying this recommendation is out of line and will not be considered,” said Joe Chenelly, AMVETS executive director. “We understand that the White House is looking to trim costs, but this cannot be an option. It would be so devastating to so many veterans, that the level of fear and anxiety it causes each time it is merely proposed floods veterans service organizations with desperate pleas for help from the same veterans who are at highest risk of suicide.”
The CBO’s 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. But this argument is flawed because these benefits are specifically for veterans whose disabilities have prevented them from working, meaning they’ve been 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 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