The proposed VA benefit cuts have caused concern and outrage among veterans and advocacy groups. The cuts include removing VA disability pay for veterans who work, ending Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) for veterans who can’t work once they hit retirement age, taxing VA disability payments, ending disability compensation for veterans with a 10% and 20% disability rating, and reducing VA disability compensation by 30% once veterans hit Social Security Administration (SSA) retirement age.
Proposal 1: Removing VA Disability Pay for Veterans Who Work
The proposal to remove VA disability pay for veterans who work and earn a certain amount could directly impact disability compensation for about 30% of all veterans currently receiving VA disability on a monthly basis. This proposal would discourage veterans from working out of fear of losing their VA disability compensation and could unfairly penalize veterans who are married and have children who earn wages.
Proposal 2: Ending TDIU, or 100% Disability Payment Rate, for Veterans Who Can’t Work Once They Hit Retirement Age
The proposal to end Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) for veterans who can’t work once they hit retirement age would affect disabled veterans in two ways. Under the first alternative, the VA would stop making TDIU payments to veterans aged 67 or older, and under the second alternative, veterans who start receiving TDIU after December 2023 would no longer receive TDIU payments once they reach age 67.
Proposal 3: Taxing VA Disability Payments
The proposal to tax VA disability payments would directly harm the financial situation of every disabled veteran. Many veterans and their families rely on the full amount of these monthly payments for support. Taxing these payments would reduce the intended purpose of this support and send a discouraging message to our nation’s veterans.
Proposal 4: Ending Disability Compensation for Veterans with a 10% and 20% Disability Rating
The proposal to end disability compensation for veterans with a 10% and 20% disability rating would remove critical financial support and undermine the recognition our veterans deserve for their service to our country. Veterans with lower disability ratings still experience the impacts of their service-connected disabilities daily, and removing financial support for these veterans dismisses the challenges they face and the sacrifices they have made during their service.
Proposal 5: Reducing VA Disability Compensation by 30% Once Veterans Hit SSA Retirement Age
The proposal to reduce VA disability compensation by 30% once veterans hit SSA retirement age fails to consider the mental and emotional impact of reducing support for veterans at a time when they may be experiencing additional challenges associated with aging. This sudden reduction in financial assistance could increase stress and anxiety for veterans, who may already be experiencing significant mental health issues due to their VA disability.
As veterans take off the uniform, they often lose their identity. Work is a great way to find a new sense of identity. We need to incentivize veterans to work and eliminate any barriers that discourage veterans from getting back into the civilian workforce. Additionally, we need to address the mental health crisis ongoing with our veterans, which is one of the main reasons why VA disability costs have increased so dramatically over the past few decades.
The proposed VA benefit cuts fail to recognize the sacrifices that veterans have made for our country and the challenges they face during their transition to civilian life. These cuts will leave veterans even more vulnerable and may discourage them from seeking the support they need. Our veterans deserve better, and we must do all we can to ensure they receive the benefits they have earned and deserve. Below are links to the Congressional Budget Office with details on the proposals.