‘Take Care of Our Heroes,’ VFW Com­man­der Says

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Washington, DC

Se­nateVeter­ans’ Af­fairs Com­mit­tee Chair­man Bernie San­ders (I-Vt.) to­day asked the na­tional com­man­der of the Veter­ans of For­eign Wars about a pro­posal to cut ben­e­fits for dis­abled veter­ans and their sur­vivors.

“Our dis­abled veter­ans have given enough,” John E. Hamil­ton told San­ders dur­ing tes­ti­mony on the VFW’s leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties be­fore a joint hear­ing of the House and Se­nate Veter­ans’ Af­fairs Com­mit­tees. “Take care of our heroes,” he added to ap­plause from the packed Se­nate hear­ing room.

San­ders has led op­po­si­tion in Congress to re­duc­ing ben­e­fits for dis­abled veter­ans, their sur­vivors and So­cial Se­cu­rity re­cip­i­ents. A so-called chained CPI would change how the con­sumer price in­dex is cal­cu­lated in a way that would sig­nif­i­cantly lower an­nual cost-ofliv­ing ad­just­ments.

The pro­posed change would af­fect more than 3.2 mil­lion dis­abled veter­ans re­ceiv­ing dis­abil­ity com­pen­sa­tion ben­e­fits from the De­part­ment of Veter­ans Af­fairs. It would also im­pact more than 350,000 sur­vivors who re­ceive ser­vice-con­nected death ben­e­fits.

Veter­ans who started re­ceiv­ing VA dis­abil­ity ben­e­fits at age 30 would have their ben­e­fits re­duced by $1,425 at age 45, $2,341 at age 55 and $3,231 at age 65. More than 55 mil­lion re­tirees, wid­ows, or­phans and dis­abled Amer­i­cans on So­cial Se­cu­rity also would be af­fected by the switch to a so-called chained CPI.

The pro­posal to lower ben­e­fits has been ad­vanced by House Repub­li­cans and em­braced by some Democrats. The White House as re­cently as last Sun­day said that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama would con­sider the chained CPI. Se­nior eco­nomic ad­viser Gene Sper­ling said on the CNN pro­gram “State of the Union” that Obama raised the is­sue dur­ing calls to law­mak­ers from both par­ties on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

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