Group urges White House, VA to reject resurfaced proposal cutting disabled, unemployed veterans' benefits

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WASHINGTON — A cost-saving proposal that sparked backlash from veterans in 2017 has resurfaced in a new Congressional Budget Office report as an option to help reduce the federal budget deficit.

The report suggests removing approximately 235,000 disabled veterans from a Department of Veterans Affairs program called Individual Unemployability in 2020, projecting it could save $47.6 billion in the next 10 years. Veterans removed from the program would see their monthly incomes decrease by an average of $1,300, according to CBO estimates.

One veterans group, AMVETS, is urging the White House and the VA to publicly disavow the proposal before it creates a groundswell of anger within the veteran community.
“We want the White House to immediately make a statement saying this recommendation is out of line and will not be considered,” said Joe Chenelly, director of AMVETS. “We understand that the White House is looking to trim costs, but this cannot be an option in that.”

The program applies to veterans who have disability ratings through the VA of between 60 percent and 100 percent and are unable to secure jobs because of their disabilities. It allows them to receive the highest compensation rate.

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