On Jun 12, 2017 09:04,
"David W. Riley, DAV National Commander
Over the past several weeks, DAV has received hundreds of inquiries from DAV members and other concerned parties regarding the proposal to eliminate the total disability rating based on Individual Unemployability (IU) benefits for veterans over the age of 62 contained in the President's fiscal year 2018 budget. Specifically, the proposal would terminate existing IU total disability ratings for veterans when they reach the minimum retirement age for Social Security purposes (age 62), or upon enactment of the proposal if the veteran is already in receipt of Social Security retirement benefits. In the May 24 House Veterans' Affairs Committee budget hearing, DAV expressed its strong opposition to this proposal. We are aware that the elimination of these benefits would affect not only the veteran's family income, but other critical ancillary benefits, such as dental coverage, Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance, the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the VA (CHAMPVA), commissary and exchange privileges, and the value of Social Security benefits. Additionally, this will impact access to some state benefits such as property tax exemptions for veteran homeowners, free vehicle registration and free access to state parks.
Please be assured this is a key priority for DAV and we are trying to respond to your phone calls and email messages as quickly as possible. DAV is actively working to educate Capitol Hill lawmakers and the public about the devastating impact this proposal would have upon service-disabled veterans and their families.
Steps DAV has already taken:
- Action alert for members: DAV members and their supporters have sent almost 24,000 emails to Members of Congress through the DAV Commander's Action Network, advising them of our strong opposition to the proposal.
- Testimony: On May 24, 2017, DAV, along with our Independent Budget (IB) partners, Paralyzed Veterans of American and Veterans of Foreign Wars, testified on the Administration's budget to the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs and expressed our opposition to the IU proposal. DAV and its IB parnters will again condemn the IU proposal at a hearing before the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs on June 14th at 2:30 PM. There will be a live feed of the hearing on that day.
- Press Release: The IB veterans service organizations issued a press release concerning our opposition to the President's budget and IU proposal on May 25, 2017.
- OP/ED from DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director Garry Augustine to be distributed to major media outlets nationwide.
- Meetings with Members of Congress to educate them about the negative impact of the IU proposal on veterans and their families.
- Letter to House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees and Congressional leadership to highlight the impact of the IU proposal and express our strong opposition to it.
- Developing an information sheet for DAV members to use in their own meetings and conversations with elected officials
Please keep in mind this is ONLY a proposal and the start of the budget process. But it is critical we protect our benefits by educating our elected officials about the negative impact this proposal would have on service-disabled veterans and their families. Please send a message to your elected officials to express your views on this important issue. We appreciate your support in our efforts to assure that America's veterans with wartime injuries and illnesses continue to receive all the benefits they are due from a grateful nation.
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