In October 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Veterans Benefits Act of 2010 into law, ensuring that all U.S. war veterans received better services and more services. But how exactly did HR 3219 change veterans lives? Below, find a summary of the bill’s contents.
• The bill provides federal grants that will assist homeless veterans in a number of ways, including counseling, job training, child services, and placement.
• The bill increases supplemental insurance for totally disabled veterans from $20,000 up to $30,000.
• The bill significantly raises the benefits for disabled veterans who need automobile assistance.
• The bill gives veterans the opportunity to increase their Veterans’ Group Life Insurance by $25,000 every five years until the age of 60.
• The bill increases the maximum loan guarantee under their life insurance program from 90,000 to $150,000.
• The bill raises the $300 burial payment to $700.
• Servicemembers will be able to cancel cell phone plans without penalty if they are moving out of service areas.
• The bill provides Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance to soldiers who were injured between 2001 and 2005, regardless of where their injury took place.
• The bill reiterates that wage discrimination is illegal when it comes to servicemen and servicewomen and improves previous re-employment laws.
• The bill gives servicemembers the private right of action to file lawsuits against those that violate their rights without having to wait for the approval of a federal agency.
How does the federal government plan to pay for these increases in benefits, most of which take effect in October 2011? Those who wrote the bill decided to reduce the VA pensions of veterans without spouses or children who live in a nursing home and receive Medicaid. Not only will this change fund the bill, it will also save the Department of Veterans Affairs an estimated $394 million in the next five years.
Are you a disabled veterans who wonders if you are getting all of the benefits that you deserve after your military service? Contact a Texas disability attorney to find out.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.