It seems like there is some good news on the horizon for veterans. A variety of bills are moving through Congress that could significantly help the men and women who fight to keep our country protected. While these bills are a step in the right direction, there is a still a lot of room for improvement for taking care of our veterans.
One of the bills that is going before Congress has to do with what happens to accrued benefits when a veteran dies. As it stands now, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs keeps those accrued benefits if the veteran dies without any qualifying members still living. The new bill would require that those accrued benefits be paid out to the estate of the veteran.
Another bill was passed unanimously by the House. That bill provided veterans with a cost-of-living adjustment to help the benefits keep up with inflation. That COLA is similar to the one Social Security recipients receive, but the process for Social Security COLA is automatic. The VA benefit COLA has to be approved by Congress.
Another bill that was passed by the House recently urges the VA to consider sexual assault in the military as a cause of mental health disorders that is considered service connected. That would allow victims of military sexual assault to receive veteran disability benefits.
If you are a veteran who is disabled and needs to seek benefits, learning about the programs and requirements of each program might help you to decide which programs to apply for. Seeking assistance as you complete the applications might help you to ensure they are properly completed.
Source: The Hill, “House passes cost of living adjustment for veterans’ benefits,” Cristina Marcos, July 28, 2015