Howdy once again. The first thing I want to say is that I was wrong about Congress doing nothing about veterans these past few months. They have, if nothing else, introduced a couple of bills that benefit veterans. But please understand that I said they introduced bills, with one exception. So, here is what is on the table.
1. H.R. 6168 – Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-living Adjustment Act of 2020. This bill would direct the VA to increase the rates of veterans’ disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, the clothing allowance for certain disabled veterans and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children starting on Dec 1. The increase would be the same as the cost-of-living increase for recipients of Social Security.
2. S. 3414 – Major Medical Facility Authorization Act of 2020. This actually became Public Law 116-44 on June 16. This act provides for the construction of VA facilities in Alameda, Calif.; Louisville, KY.; New York City.; West Los Angeles.; and San Diego. It also dictates the maximum amount that can be spent on each project.
3. H.R. 6933 – The Caring For Survivors Act of 2020. If passed, it would reduce the age allowed for a surviving spouse to remarry and maintain their benefits from the age of 57 to 55. This would make it consistent with other federal survivor programs. It would also increase the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) base rate to 55% of the rate of compensation paid to a totally disabled veteran. Finally, it would ease the 10-year rule for eligibility and replace it with a graduated scale of benefits that begins after five years and increases by percentage until reaching the full amount at the 10-year mark.
4. Identical bills introduced in both the House and Senate. Veterans Economic Recovery Act of 2020, if passed and signed into law, would provide support for veterans who lost jobs because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. It would offer veterans one year of GI Bill benefits to be used at approved high-demand programs. The bill aims for veterans to get back in the workforce “as quickly as possible”.
I suggest that you contact your Congressional Representative or Senator and urge them to “Get on Board” and sign on to these bills to help veterans. Until next time, I thank you for your service to our great country and ask that God would bless Texas and the USA!
Carl Dry is a Korean War veteran, a former Grimes County Veterans Service Officer and the current VFW Post 4006 Commander.