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under the FBCA receive 55% benefit plus one year's pay; the Foreign Service widow receives 75% benefit and one year's pay plus a few other fringes. Way are DIC widovs "partially endowed" at not more than 40% ? DIC is unique in
it is the only benefit program wherein the longer the serviceman
served and the higher in rats or rank he attained, the less porcentage in
proortion the widow receives.
Being "partially" benefited means this DIC widow who has so gallantly moved from pillar to post, made due with an inadequate income, tried to aduate children properly, cared for an 111 husband, is often faced with not only the bereavement but the financial inability to cope with about 40% of the income. It she has
& house she can't afford to live in it.
The burdens are unending.
“Partially benefited means the DIC widow must go to work regardless of
oiroumstances, low pay in the military preoludes the establishment of much of
& savings account.
Wives of military personnel have little opportunity to
establish a career for themselves so they are wable to build up a retirement
program for hersell. Generally, their age and lack of slalls make finding a Job almost Lápossible in this youth oriented society of ours.
Widors of servicemen vho served in the first and second World Wars are
now in their sixties, seventies, and eighties. They are facing the hardships of the loneliness of old age, the inability to cope with the spiraling taflation, and the fears and uncertainties of a spartan existence. Condo conversions
continue to fill my mail with horror stories.
It is our plea today that this Congress see fit to correct the inequities
of the DIC program and place it on equal footing with the other Federal benefit
When Abraham Lincoln stated in his address to the Hation that this country
would care for the
widow and orphan surely he meant on an equitable basis.
I will be glad to answer any
Thank you for allowing me to testify today. of your questions.
OCTOBER 27, 1981
MR. CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE:
The Disabled American Veterans appreciates this opportunity
to appear here today to discuss the impact of the Administration's
proposed Fiscal Year 1982 Budget reductions on the VA's
Department of Veterans Benefits and other matters relating to the benefits provided to service-connected disabled veterans, their
dependents and survivors.
Mr. Chairman, since a segment of our testimony today deals
with the relationship between federal spending cuts and VA's
ability to deliver essential service to veterans, I would like to
take this occasion to extend to you and the members of the :
Subcommittee our sincere thanks.
I refer, of course,
to the pro
vision contained in Public Law 97-66 designed to allow
Congressional oversight of any plan which proposes to reorganize the Veterans Administration---particularly, those proposals aimed
at centralizing VA claims processing.
In our view, the Administration's original plan to establish
one VA Central Office for the adjudication of all VA claims
would, no doubt, have had a drastic adverse impact on VA
We think the concern for timeliness, effi
ciency and quality expressed by members of this committee, and by
many other members of Congress, brought about the demise of the
"centralization" plan and resulted in the restoration of funds to
the VA aimed at maintaining the staffing levels for the
Department of Veterans Benefits.
For this, Mr. Chairman, you, Chairman Montgomery and the
entire membership of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs have
our sincere gratitude.
Further FY 1982 Budget Reductions
As you know, on September 24, 1981 the President announced a
second round of federal spending reductions for Fiscal Year 1982.
This new proposal is basically identical to the Revised Fiscal
Year 1982 Budget Request submitted to the Congress on March 10,
In terms of the Veterans Administration, at least, these
reductions have already been turned back by the Congress once and
we hope they will be rejected again.
However, the Administration
is seeking a reduction of $451.7 million from the Fiscal Year
1982 VA appropriation as contained in H.R. 4034--the measure
which implements the spending targets of the Administration sup
ported Gramm/Latta Substitute Budget Resolution.
With respect to the subject matter of today's hearing, Mr.
Chairman, the new round of Fiscal Year 1982 budget cuts propose
to reduce VA's General Operating Expenses Account by some $55.8 million. These funds are generally provided for staffing and
operating the Department of Veterans Benefits.
At this time,
are not prepared to charge that this reduc
tion will cripple VA's ability to deliver essential benefit ser
vices to veterans.
However, it can be said that (1) a reduction
of this magnitude ($55.8 million) will result in DVB staffing
below the personnel levels proposed by the Congress in both the
First Concurrent Resolution on the Budget (Gramm/Latta) and
H.R. 4034 (VA FY 1982 appropriation) and that (2) further
staffing reductions in DVB will adversely affect the timeliness
of VA claims processing.
For quite some time, Mr. Chairman, the VA has been asked "to
do more with less."
We think the VA has reached a point of
And, in spite of Honeywell's advertisement
in The Washington Post last Sunday, we simply do not believe that
the on-line capability of the Target Computer System substantiates further staffing reductions in DVB or additional cuts in
Further, Mr. Chairman, Public Law 97-51 provides emergency
funding for the government for the period October 1, 1981 th
November 20, 1981.
This law requires that VA programs be funded
at the levels contained in the Conference Report on H.R. 4034-
the HUD-Independent Agencies Appropriation Measure.
However, we have recently learned that the office of
Management and Budget has instructed that VA operations during
the period covered by Public Law 97-51 (10/1/81-11/20/81) be
limited to the levels specified in the President's September 24,
1981 Budget Revisions.
Considering this and the track record of this Administration
thus far, we suspect that OMB will continue in its efforts to
circumvent the intent of Congress--thus, inhibiting VA's ability
to render service to veterans in an effective and efficient
VA Unemployability Review
Mr. Chairman, the Disabled American Veterans, an organization
with a membership comprised solely of veterans who have incurred
a wound, injury or disease while serving on active military duty,