We have received quite a few questions about the proposed cuts to VA disability compensation benefits. At present, the cuts are merely proposals, and many veterans’ advocacy groups have been quite vocal about the hardships older veterans would face if the proposal goes through.
Currently, IU benefits are awarded based on the affect service-connected disabilities have on a veteran’s ability to work, taking social and occupational history into account. The current budget proposes to cut or reduce IU benefits for veterans who reach minimum age to receive Social Security retirement benefits. Many veterans groups are concerned about the loss of benefits, as the proposed cuts would primarily affect older veterans, many of whom may have been disabled for years, if not decades. Many veterans depend on those benefits and are understandably concerned about the budget proposal being put into effect.
These cuts to VA benefits could impact 225,000 vets currently receiving IU. At a hearing in May, VA Secretary David Shulkin confirmed that about 7,000 of those vets are over the age of 80.
Cutting veterans’ benefits would allow for a large expansion of the Veterans’ Choice Program for fiscal 2018. Many veterans who served their country and later spent years fighting for their VA disability payments are frustrated by this decision.
Veterans Choice was created by Congress in 2014 after news broke of veterans waiting months to receive health care at VA facilities. It was designed as a temporary fix, connecting vets to health care in the private sector if they’ve waited more than a month for a VA appointment or live far away from a VA facility. It’s been far from a success, seeing its fair share of problems in the past two years. Nevertheless, it has been granted a new lease on life by Congress, who is now looking for additional funding through these proposed cuts.
Despite this effort to continue to provide veterans with local health care, cutting benefits for thousands of disabled elderly people could result in rampant homelessness and even death if not handled correctly. The VA’s track record as of late has been far from spotless, and a big move like this is met with alarm from many veterans receiving disability benefits.
We will keep a close eye on the situation and will keep our clients informed as to any additional developments.
Berry Law Firm’s team of veterans’ attorneys has been defending the rights of clients nationwide for decades. If you or a loved one are in the process of appealing a VA denial or inadequate decision, please contact us today. Your consultation is free.
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