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(5) by striking out “$21” in subparagraph (E)
and inserting in lieu thereof “$24”;
(6) by striking out “$36” in subparagraph (F) and inserting in lieu thereof “$41”;
(7) by striking out “$53” and “$15” in subparagraph (G) and inserting in lieu thereof “$61" and
(8) by striking out “$25" in subparagraph (H)
(9) by striking out “$48” in subparagraph (I) and inserting in lieu thereof “$55".
SEC. 4. The rate increases provided in this Act shall
13 become effective May 1, 1974.
(From the Congressional Record, Feb. 27, 1974)
VETERANS DISABILITY COMPENSATION ACT OF 1974 Mr. TALMADGE. Mr. President, today I introduce for myself, for the chairman of the full Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Mr. Hartke, and for all other members of the committee S. 3067, the Veterans Disability Compensation Act of 1974. This bill would increase the rates of compensation for veterans who have been disabled in or due to their service.
Our Nation owes no greater debt than that owed men and women who were disabled in the service of their country. This bill represents a partial payment of that debt.
As chairman of the Subcommittee on Compensation and Pensions, I have scheduled hearings on this bill for March 13, 2 weeks from today. At that time, the subcommittee will also consider the proposed Survivors Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Act of 1974 introduced today by the chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, Mr. Hartke, and cosponsored by myself and the other members of the committee. It is my hope and intention that the hearings on these two bills as well as other legislation pending before the subcommittee which I chair can be completed quickly so that the full committee and, thereafter, the full Senate can consider these measures at the earliest possible time. If we act expeditiously, enacted rate increases could be effective May 1 of this year.
The bill which I introduce today provides for a 15-percent increase in the basic disability compensation rates. Dependency allowances payable to veterans with service-connected disabilities rated 50 percent or more would also be increased by 15 percent. There are currently 2.2 million veterans receiving disability payments to compensate for the loss or reduction of earning capacities resulting from their service-connected injuries. In recent years the rolls of American disabled veterans have been swelled by the addition of 364,500 Vietnam era wounded veterans.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the following table showing disabled veterans by period of service be inserted in the record at this point.
There being no objection, the table was ordered printed in the record as follows:
TABLE 1.-AVERAGE NUMBER OF VETERAN COMPENSATION CASES AND COSTS
Mr. TALMADGE. Mr. President, unfortunately, each of these disabled veterans has in the past year once again become a casualty. This time the casualty has been produced not by a bullet or shrapnel but by increases in the cost of living which have deprived many disabled veterans living on fixed incomes. Since Congress provided for a 10-percent increase in compensation rates in Public Law 92–328, effective July 1, 1972, the Consumer Price Index has reflected a cost-of-living increase of 11.3 percent, as of January 31. The following table illustrates the rapid and continuing increase in the Consumer Price Index:
TABLE 2.-U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS-CONSUMER PRICE INDEX
Mr. President, the bill which I introduced today closely resembles suggestions made by the Disabled American Veterans who will appear and present their 1974 legislative program before the full Committee on Veterans' Affairs today. The Veterans Disability Compensation Act of 1974 would attempt to restore lost purchasing power by increasing the rates by 15 percent. The following table indicates current law and the proposed increases in compensation payments if the Veterans Disability Compensation Act of 1974 is enacted :
TABLE 3.- COMPARISON OF COMPENSATION RATES UNDER PRESENT LAW AND UNDER S. 3067
(a) Rated at 10 percent.
Rated at 50 percent.
Limit for veterans receiving payments under (a) to (j) above.
both eyes (5/200 visual acuity or less), permanently bedridden or so helpless as to
require regular aid and attendance (m) Anatomical loss of use of 2 extremities so as to prevent natural elbow or knee action with
prosthesis in place, blind in both eyes, rendering veteran so helpless as to require
regular aid and attendance. (n) Anatomical loss of 2 extre.nities so near shoulder or hip as to prevent use of prosthesis,
anatomical loss of both eyes.
Limit for veterans receiving payments under (1) to (n) above. (0) Disability under conditions entitling veteran to 2 or more of the rates provided in (1)
through (n), no condition being considered twice in the determination, or total deafness
in combination with total blindness (5/200 visual acuity or less) (p) If disabilities exceed requirements of any rates prescribed, Administrator of VA may
allow next higher rate or an intermediate rate, but in no case may compensation exceed.. (1) If veteran entitled to compensation under (o) or to the maximum rate under (p), and is
in need of regular aid and attendance, shall receive a special allowance of the amount
(0) or (p)..
over, or permanently housebound.
Mr. President, the fiscal 1975 budget for disability compensation payments is currently projected at $3.18 billion. This bill would provide $408 million in additional benefits for disabled veterans in the coming fiscal year.
I am hopeful that we can move quickly so that additional adjustments in the rates will not be needed prior to enactment.
COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS, U.S. SENATE
Washington, D.Ci, March 12, 1974.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: We are pleased to respond to your request for a report on S. 3067, 93d Congress, the proposed "Veterans’ Disability Compensation Act of 1974”.
The purpose of the bill is to increase by approximately 15 percent the monthly service-connected disability compensation rates paid to veterans.
The basic purpose of the disability compensation program is to provide relief for the impaired earning capacity of veterans disabled as the result of service-connected injury or disease. The monthly amount payable varies according to the degree of disability which, under the law (38 U.S.C. 355) is required to be based, as far as practicable, upon the average impairments of earning capacity resulting from such injuries in civil occupations. Additional compensation for dependents is payable to any veteran entitled to basic compensation for disability rated at not less than 50 percent.
Since the disability compensation program was first established, the Congress has periodically made adjustments in the rates of compensation when such were deemed necessary. These rates were last increased by Public Law 92-328, effective August 1, 1972. From that date through January 1974, the cost of living, as reflected by the Consumer Price Index, has risen 11.3 percent.
Subsection (a) of section 2 and section 3 of the bill would increase disability compensation rates payable to veterans by approximately 15 percent. Subsection (b) of section 2 would authorize administrative adjustment (consistent with the rate increases specified in subsection (a)) of the rates of disability compensation payable to persons within the purview of section 10 of Public Law 85–857, who are receiving disability compensation under laws other than chapter 11 of title 38, United States Code.
Section 4 of the proposal provides that the effective date of these rate increases would be May 1, 1974.
The estimated cost of enactment of S. 3067 approximates $416.4 million the first year, gradually declining to $406.9 million the fifth year.
The President, in his letter of March 4, 1974, to your committee proposed, among other things, a 12-percent increase in disability compensation payable to veterans effective March 1, 1974, to conform with the changes in the cost of living since the last disability compensation rate increase, which was effective August 1, 1972. The President further stated that to protect compensation benefits in the future, an automatic adjustment in benefits is needed to recognize future increases in the cost of living, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. The enclosed draft bill, which has been transmitted to the President of the Senate, would accomplish the above-mentioned recommendations of the President regarding disability compensation as well as those regarding dependency and indemnity compensation contained in his letter of March 4, 1974. This measure would cost approximately $432 million the first year, decreasing to approximately $430 million the fifth year.
We believe that enactment of the enclosed draft bill will in the long run be more beneficial for the service-connected disabled veterans and their survivors than would S. 3067. Accordingly, we oppose enactment of S. 3067 and urge, in lieu thereof, that the committee favorably consider the enclosed draft bill.
This will also serve as a report on S. 2710, a substantially similar
Advice has been received from the Office of Management and Budget that there is no objection to the presentation of this report from the standpoint of the administration's program. Sincerely,
DONALD E. JOHNSON,
A BILL To amend title 38, United States Code, to increase rates of disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation, and to provide for automatic adjustment thereof commensurate with future increases in the cost of living, and for other purposes
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress assembled, That (a) section 314 of title 38, United States Code, is amended
(1) by striking out "$28” in subsection (a) and inserting in lieu thereof "$31”;
(2) by striking out “$51” in subsection (b) and inserting in lieu thereof “$57";
(3) by striking out “$77” in subsection (c) and inserting in lieu thereof '$86”;
(4) by striking out “$106” in subsection (d) and inserting in lieu thereof “$119”;
(5) by striking out “$149” in subsection (e) and inserting in lieu thereof “$167'';
(6) by striking out “$179” in subsection (f) and inserting in lieu thereof “$200";
(7) by striking out “$212” in subsection (g) and inserting in lieu thereof “$237”;
(8) by striking out “$245” in subsection (h) and inserting in lieu thereof “$274",
(9) by striking out "$275” in subsection (i) and inserting in lieu thereof “$308”;
(10) hy striking out “$495" in subsection (j) and inserting in lieu thereof “$554";
(11) by striking out "$616" and "$862" in subsection (k) and inserting in lieu thereof “$690 and “$965”, respectively;
(12), by striking out “$616” in subsection (1) and inserting in lieu thereof “$690";
(13) by striking out "$678” in subsection (m) and inserting in lieu thereof "$759”;
(14) by striking out “$770” in subsection (n) and inserting in lieu thereof "$862'';
(15) by striking out "$862” in subsections (o) and (p) and inserting in lieu thereof "$965";
(16) by striking out “$370” in subsection (r) and inserting in lieu thereof “$414"; and
(17) by striking out “$554” in subsection (s) and inserting in lieu thereof "$620”.