Veterans’ Disability Benefits on Chopping Block

COLA Cuts Means Veterans May Lose Thousands of Dollars a Year

Earlier this year, an unknown Senator placed a “secret hold” on the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) for compensation paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to more than three million disabled Veterans.

Now a much larger threat to Veteran’s looms in Congress.  Reporter Steve Vogel writes in today’s Washington Post’s how Congress may slash COLAs.  That’s terrible news for disabled Veterans living on a tight budget during tough economic times.  The Post reported:

A change in how annual cost-of-living adjustments are calculated could mean that 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.

Veterans groups and the incoming Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee immediately denounced the austerity measure:

“We must do deficit reduction, but not by cutting programs for people who lost arms, legs and eyes defending our country,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.)

Journalist Rick Maze at Army Times also covered this highly contentious issue sparking much outrage among Veterans.

Posted by Paul Sullivan

Paul_Gulf_War_1991_cropped

Paul Sullivan joined Bergmann & Moore in 2012. He served as a Cavalry Scout with the Army’s 1st Armored Division during the 1991 Gulf War invasion of Iraq and Kuwait. After leaving the military, Paul used his G.I. Bill education benefits to obtain a degree in political science. Between 1995 and 2000, he worked at the National Gulf War Resource Center in Washington, DC, a non-profit organization representing Desert Storm veterans. As the executive director, Paul led the national effort to pass the “Persian Gulf Veterans Act of 1998,” a law significantly expanding healthcare, disability benefits, and scientific research for 250,000 ill Gulf War Veterans. A new, key provision of the law provided two years of free healthcare at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for veterans deployed to the 1991 conflict.

From 2000 to 2006, Mr. Sullivan worked within VA at the Veterans Benefits Administration where he produced reports about the healthcare use and disability benefit activity of Gulf War, Afghanistan War, and Iraq War veterans. From 2007 until 2011, Mr. Sullivan served as the executive director at Veterans for Common Sense, a non-profit advocacy organization. VCS was heavily involved in the passage of the “Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act” of 2008,” a law expanding free healthcare to five years for veterans who deployed to a war zone. VCS advocacy also prompted VA to shorten the agency’s disability claim form, issue veteran-friendly regulations expanding benefits for posttraumatic stress disorder, and establish a suicide prevention hotline.

As the managing director of public affairs and veteran outreach Bergmann & Moore, he speaks with journalists on issues related to veterans’ healthcare and disability benefits, especially Gulf War illness and post traumatic stress disorder. Paul frequently hosts workshops around the nation where he meets with veterans and discusses appealing their VA disability claims.

For press inquiries and questions about hosting a veterans benefits workshop, please call: 877-838-2889

Leave a Reply