Sanders questions veterans service organizations on cuts in Disability Benefits

Sanders Questions Veterans Service

Organizations on Cuts in Disability Benefits

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 – As a Friday deadline neared in Congress’s latest budget showdown, Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today questioned veterans group leaders about a proposal that would cut the benefits of more than 3.2 million disabled veterans and more than 55 million Social Security recipients.

Sanders has led opposition in Congress to reducing benefits by adopting a so-called chained CPI changing how the consumer price index is calculated. “It would mean very significant cuts for Social Security beneficiaries as well as for disabled veterans,” Sanders said at a joint hearing of the Senate and House veterans’ affairs committees.

Sanders asked representatives of veteran service organizations for their assessment of the proposal.

Tom Tarantino, the policy chief for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, called it “a terrible idea.” He added, “It astounds me that we keep asking veterans to sacrifice more and more.”

H. Gene Overstreet, president of the Non-Commissioned Officers Association, called it “a bad idea” and said “veterans have paid their due.”

“Unconscionable,” was how Charles Susino, the World War II veteran and national commander of the American Ex-Prisoners of War, characterized the proposal.

The proposed change in how the consumer price index is calculated would result in significantly lower annual cost-of-living adjustments for more than 3.2 million disabled veterans receiving disability compensation benefits from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. 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, according to the Congressional Budget Office. 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 has been advanced by House Republicans and embraced by some Democrats. The White House has said that President Barack Obama would consider the chained CPI as a way to cut benefits by billions of dollars.

Contact: Michael Briggs (202) 224-5141


Press Release

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  • Ronald Marmon

    This is the worst thing I have ever heard of such attacks on The Veterans that served their country to keep it free. Not only that you also attack the very sole of the disabled and elderly. What kind of nation is this. I served 10 years in the United States Marine Corps and I volunteered for the infantry and went to Viet Nam 1966 to 1967. As most of us we came to an unthankfull nation. I now have cancer do to agent orange, PTSD, heart problems and you now say to me and all other Veterans to give back all we paid for to make this Country Great. The Country I once knew is broken, elected officials have turned their backs on the American Public one to many times. Remember I said elected.

  • Lee Meyers

    Mr. Sanders comes on like a person who has never served his country in uniform
    and don’t have any idea os the hardships encountered by all of us who did serve. I came home with Malaria and shrapnel in my left leg, a leg which has since been amputated. My service was during WWII and I served in New Guinea,
    New Britain, and the Philippines, where I was wounded. I wonder how much members of Congress have taken a pay cut and gave up all of their “perks” as well as taking a reduced retirement which is above and beyond anything social security recipients. Congress should get real and quit picking on Veterans.

    • Stuart Hill

      There are a great many who still view all that served in the military as villains. Add to that the attitude that has been cultivated against aging and the WWII Korea era vets are fairly heavily demonized.

      Likewise the Vietnam era vets and Gulf War I vets are being painted as being drains on money that would e better spent on helping the upper middle class liberals and their family.

      I’m not being sarcastic in saying that. Look at who the people are screaming that they deserve free health care as a right. Often it is those most able to pay for their own health care, not those most in need.

      Veterans benefits and Social Security are both often referred to as entitlements in the infotainment industry and by elected officials. The game? to make it seem that the recipients do not deserve the benefits that they paid for be it by payroll deduction in the case of Social Security or in service for Veterans benefits.

      I’m sure that Sanders and many of his supporters fully believe he has done much more to serve his country than you or any of your brothers (and sisters) in arms over the years have done. If the average person hears the fantasy (to be generous) spun enough times it begins to be accepted as truth. The more little lies can be accepted, the easier it is for people to accept the big lies.

      The bottom line Mr. Meyers is watch your back. Not just with the politicians, not just when you go to White River but every moment.

      Keep telling the truth even when the younger, poorly educated but well indoctrinated ones want you to be quiet. That’s when you need the most to speak up in a loud and clear voice.

      Thank you for your service then and now.

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