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The level of pension granted to ex-servicemen or to their survivors is determined by the amounts of “other income” which they may be receiving. Mostly this “other income” is in the form of social security benefits.

From time to time the Congress sees fit to provide a general increase in benefits under social security. Conceivably these additional benefits might place a pensioner in a higher bracket, resulting in the loss of veterans' benefits, or a sharp curtailment. I could provide the mathematics of many cases, hypothetical as well as actual, to demonstrate this, but I am sure this has been done already. When this happens it clearly violates the whole purpose of our veterans' pension program: to provide a bare subsistence to those who served the Nation in time of need and to their survivors.

An obvious way out of the dilemma is to waive some of the social security benefits, so as not to suffer a loss of benefits to which they are entitled under the Veterans' Administration program. VA, under existing law, views that income as "other income, even though the veteran or his widow never sees it—or spends it.

H.R. 16433, and the others, would authorize the Veterans' Administration to consider as "other income" only such other income as was actually received.

It is a simple amendment, but it will correct the present shell game aspects of the law. Mr. Dorn. Thank you very much.

COUNSEL. Congressman Denton, of Indiana, had hoped to be here. He had to go to the White House. He did want his statemeru included in the record.

Mr. Dorn. Without objection, the gentleman's statement will be included in the record, or we will arrange to hear him on another day.

COUNSEL. Mr. Callan, of Nebraska, has submitted a statement he would like to have included in the record, too.

Mr. DORN. Without objection, it shall be included in the record at this point.

(Mr. Callan's statement follows:)

STATEMENT BY THE HONORABLE CLAIR A. CALLAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CON

GRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEBRASKA, IN SUPPORT OF H.R. 14181 I appreciate the opportunity of appearing before this subcommittee to present these views in support of my proposed Veterans' Pensions Bill H.R. 14181, to amend title 38 of the U.S. Code to increase the rate of pension to certain veterans of World War I, World War II, and Korean conflict, their widows and children and for other purposes.

The veterans laws today which you have fashioned in the past represent an appropriate structure of benefit to individuals who have risked and sacrificed their lives and fortunes for the welfare of our country. I feel confident, therefore, that you will be sympathetic to a problem which is posed to us today by millions of veterans and their families. This problem is one of where to draw the line between the unwarranted and the rightful obligation of a concerned nation to those who have sacrificed to protect and defend that country and their ability to provide for themselves. It is my contention that we have drawn the line much too finely.

We have a responsibility to the veteran who seeks to enjoy the basic necessities of life for himself and his family and to the grateful public which wants the veteran to have this opportunity. The present Veterans Legislation falls far short of providing the veteran and his family with the opportunities for a true enjoyment of life as we would have it in this Great Society of ours.

The proposed legislation has as its objective the liberalization of income limitations for veterans and their families receiving pensions for disabilities, and the increase of pensions in various categories.

Essentially my proposed legislation will serve to eliminate the scale of payments in present legislation and to raise the income limitations in each category by $600. This means that in the case of a single veteran or widow the income limitation is $2400 and in the case of a veteran and family or a widow and family the limitation is $3600. I feel it is self-evident that even with these maximum incomes, the individual who is forced to live under these standards is on the outskirts of poverty.

Further, I propose to eliminate the scale of payments based on actual income up to the maximum and to substitute the maximum present payment in the category of a single veterans and veterans with their families. This will mean a single veteran with any income up to $2400 will receive a $100 month pension. On the other hand, a widow alone with an income of up to $1800 will receive $65. With an income of $1800 to $2400 she will receive $55. These figures, although more liberal than the present system, still provide a standard of living well below the national average.

Finally, the proposed legislation would provide for $80 per month pensions to a widow and her children with an income of up to $2400 and $65 per month for $2400 to $3600 income. This allows some leeway to the widow and her family that is more satisfactory than the present system.

One of the main advantages to the system of the proposed legislation, is that it

ows the individual or family a chance to do a little for themselves. Under the present law, as an individual is motivated to earn a little extra income, he is constantly reminded that when he reaches the next plateau he will be cut back in his pension payments and hence penalized for having the initiative to better his posi. tion. An individual's self-pride and motivation are qualities which are very precious to him and play an integral part in his life. It is vital for us to encourage at all levels that spark of initiative which has played so large a part in our history and even our present goals.

This great nation of ours is deeply indebted to those who have sacrificed their youth and even their lives for our cause of freedom. We can never repay in monetary terms those who have lost their loved one in the fight for us to be free. It is our responsibility to live up to the faith and trust which others have placed in us and to do all that is possible toward providing them with a life which speaks well for this land of plenty.

COUNSEL. There are no other members present, sir.

Mr. DORN. If the subcommittee would indulge for 1 minute, off the record.

(Discussion off the record.)

Mr. DORN. Without objection, the gentleman from Illinois' statement, the Honorable Kenneth Gray, will be included in the record at this point.

(Mr. Gray's statement follows:) STATEMENT THE HONORABLE KENNETH GRAY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN

CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS Mr. Chairman and members of the distinguished Committee on Veterans' Affairs, let me first thank you for scheduling hearings on the important subject of pensions and related programs for the veterans and dependents in this country.

Mr. Chairman, I deeply appreciate the opportunity of appearing before you this morning in behalf of three bills I introduced in the first session of the 89th Congress.

First, I would like to urge consideration for a general pension increase for World War I veterans and their dependents. Although I am in favor of increasing compensation to our service connected veterans and their dependents, I feel that veterans of World War I are generally in dire circumstances and priority should be given to this group at the present time, especially since Congress gave an increase in compensation to our service connected veterans last year.

Mr. Chairman, there are approximately 15,000 World War I veterans dying monthly in this country. With less than 2 million of these “forgotten men' living, it is easy to see that approximately 4 hundred thousand World War I veterans will be dying with each succeeding Congress. Therefore, if we are going to help this group of dedicated Americans when they need it, the time is now.

Many are moving into the sunset of their lives in poverty and I feel

BY

that a 10-20 percent increase in World War I veterans pensions is an urgent necessity.

Mr. Chairman, I would also strongly urge that the income limitations be raised by 10 percent or more to cope with the cost of living increase since the last general pension bill was passed.

Mr. Chairman, I think I could put my argument in proper perspective by reading the first paragraph of a letter I recently received from Mr. Loren C. Margrave, Adjutant of Barracks 1941 of the World War I veterans, Herrin, Illinois. I quote: “In our homes and at our meetings, the desperate need for prompt increase in our veterans pensions is discussed repeatedly. The cost of inflation and increased medical expenses have trimmed our small pensions for too long. We must have relief. We are sure you Congressmen get plenty tired of letters asking for increased veterans and widows pensions. We get exhausted, too, trying to get by.”

Mr. Chairman, I submit to you that these sentiments expressed by Mr. Margrave are reechoed every day in personal conversations at home and in correspondence. I hope the committee can act this session on increased pensions for veterans of World War I and their widows.

Mr. Chairman, the other two bills I shall mention briefly. One would increase limitations on income in order to prevent loss of veterans pension benefits as a result of increases in social security. I realize that Congress gave veterans a 10 percent allowance when we passed the Social Security Increase Bill. However, many veterans elected to take the higher pension, only to find that they would be knocked down again when the 7 percent increase in social security became effective. Many of them have bought merchandise on time payment, expecting the larger income, only to find that they, in fact, had less income than before. I have introduced H. R. 11234 that would allow increases in social security benefit payments under the amendments of 1965 and, at the same time, allow veterans to keep the amount of pension that they were drawing at the time the increase for social security went into effect.

Lastly, Mr. Chairman, I would strongly urge the committee to preserve the burial allowance payments now made to families of deceased veterans. It is my understanding that ne members have introduced legislation recommended by the Veterans Administration to eliminate the burial allowance. This would be a great tragedy in my opinion. It would deprive many needy families of the only source of income they have to bury their loved ones who gave so much in time of need.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, for giving me an opportunity to speak in behalf of our veterans. I know you will be fair and just in these matters.

Mr. DORN. The committee is in receipt of a number of statements from Members of Congress who were unable to be present this morning, and without objection these statements will be inserted at this point in the printed hearings in the order in which they are received.

(The statements referred to follow:)

STATEMENT BY THE HONORABLE FRANK T. Bow, A REPRESENTATIVE IN Con

GRESS FROM THE STATE OF Ohio, IN SUPPORT OF H.R. 12659 Mr. Chairman, my bill, as you know, would simply increase by 20 per cent the income limitations that now govern the amount of pension received by a nonservice connected veteran or the widow of a veteran.

We are in an inflationary cycle which has imposed cruel hardship upon all Americans of modest income and particularly upon the retired men and women, including veterans, who struggle to make ends meet on a fixed income.

I am particularly concerned by the plight of the aged widow, and it seems to me that we must provide a significant increase in the widow's pension.

I do not know that my bill is the best or the most acceptable solution to this problem, but I offer it as evidence of my interest in solving the problem and I will support this committee in any legislation that may be recommended to improve the income of veterans.

STATEMENT BY THE HONORABLE ODIN LANGEN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS

FROM THE STATE OF MINNESOTA, IN SUPPORT OF H.R. 12364 Mr. Chairman, I am grateful for the opportunity to present this statement in behalf of H.R. 12364, my Veterans Pension Equity Bill, which I introduced January 27, 1966. I wish to commend you and the Committee for considering the pending veterans pension bills.

It is my belief that we should take whatever legislative action is necessary to rectify the inequities being experienced by a considerable number of veterans who recently discovered that their monthly pension benefits have been reduced or terminated as a result of enactment last session of an increase in monthly social security payments. H.R. 12364 provides for a ten percent increase in the income limitation for veterans pensions, thereby relieving the plight of those veterans, widows, and dependents adversely affected by the social security increase.

The legislative history in this matter underscores the need for Congressional action at this time. Last year the Congress and the President respectively passed and approved into law a seven percent increase in social security payments. The undesirable, inequitable result thereof has been placement of a certain number of veterans just above one of the income limits set forth in law for entitlement to a specified pension rate. In other words, the added monthly social security benefit was just enough to cause them to receive less pension than before, or none at all. It has been estimated that 29,000 veterans found themselves in this unfortunate position where significantly more was lost in veterans pension than was gained by increased social security payments.

In the case of so many deserving veterans, widows, and dependents, the status quo means a real financial hardship. We must, therefore, not shirk our responsibility to correct the unwanted consequence of total income being lower than before passage of increased social security benefits. When the direct and substantive increase in one Government monthly benefit brings about a greater reduction in another Governmental income supplement, then the time has arrived for correcting such injustice.

H.R. 12364 is in response to this challenge, and I wholeheartedly support enactment of this and similar proposals which would restore the reduction in veterans pension caused by last year's increase in social security payments.

Thank you for the privilege of presenting this statement.

STATEMENT BY THE HONORABLE ELMER J. HOLLAND, A REPRESENTATIVE IN

CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, IN SUPPORT OF H.R. 1553 Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, once more I am availing myself of your courtesy and taking the opportunity to express my support for legislation to provide a monthly pension of $100 for veterans of World War I.

H. R. 1553, which I have introduced, would direct the payment of such a pension to veterans of World War I who served for ninety days or more, or who were discharged with a service-connected disability without having served that long. The need for this legislation is growing, the justice of this proposal is becoming more evident, precisely as the numbers of such veterans is diminishing. The veterans of each war, prior to World War I, have been awarded such pensions. It is true that there are more veterans of World War I than of the earlier wars. But it is also true that those veterans are as deserving of the nation's benevolence as were any of their predecessors who fought on other and older battlefields.

In many ways, the World War I veteran is in a unique situation. World War I, unlike World War II, was followed by a bitter and lasting economic depression. The returning veteran of World War I had scarcely adjusted himself to civilian life, had scarcely begun to reconstruct the life which the war had interrupted when the bottom fell out of the economic structure. For ten long years, until World War II took his son off to another continent, the World War I veteran,—and I am speaking of the average veteran, not the unusual case—was hard-put to make ends meet, to find and keep a job, to buy a home, to save for the future. Some of these men did manage to achieve economic self-sufficiency. But many did not. We have some 15 million older citizens in this nation—12 million of them are living under substandard conditions, because their generation was the one which was most hit by the Great Depression. As a nation, we are trying, with some success, to meet the needs of these senior citizens, through Social Security, through Medicare, through other programs. But these very benefits which we give to those older citizens, many of whom are veterans of World War I, are counted against

his eligibility to receive the very minimal pension which we give some such veterans.

The World War I veteran has earned, as have the veterans of earlier and later wars, his country's gratitude. I hope the Committee will give favorable and timely consideration to the many bills before it to provide a $100-per-month pension to the veterans of World War I.

STATEMENT BY THE HONORABLE VERNON W. THOMSON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN

CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF WISCONSIN, IN SUPPORT OF H.R. 14005 Mr. Chairman, Public Law 86–211 went into effect July 1, 1960. The law provided new benefit rates and income limitations for veterans with non-serviceconnected disabilities, as well as other changes which can affect a veteran's eligibility for a pension or the amount he receives.

The law provided that pensioners who were enrolled prior to July 1, 1960, could make an election to come under the new law or remain under the old law. This election could be made but once only.

My bill H.R. 14005 recognizes the existence of our dual pension acts. It meets a need for improvement in that it provides that the pensioner can make an election between the two laws as often as necessary to get the full benefit intended by the two existing laws.

My bill provides that pensioners enrolled since July 1, 1960, and who must now be pensioned pursuant to the new act can elect to take benefits under the old law in lieu of the act under which they now receive a pension. My bill further provides that all future pension enrollees may elect between the two laws in the matter of pension benefit entitlement.

The operation of the present pension acts shows very clearly that some people are better off under the new law, while others receive a greater benefit under the old law. My bill gives the pensioner a permanent right to elect the act which best suits his individual case.

I am of the opinion the two pension laws existing side by side present a harmonious and beneficial system for providing veterans' pensions provided we amend the law as proposed in my bill H.R. 14005 to permit freedom of choice by pensioners between the provisions of these acts.

My bill provides for flexibility in the administration of the present pension acts which I believe is essential if we are to have an effective and operational law. I believe this flexibility is necessary to reflect Congressional intent which presumes the pensioner will have the opportunity to choose the law which is most beneficial to him.

I respectfully urge your consideration of the merits of bill H.R. 14005. Your favorable consideration will result in an improved pension law for World War I veterans and their dependents.

STATEMENT BY THE HONORABLE LUCIEN N. NEDZI, A REPRESENTATIVE IN

CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, IN SUPPORT OF H.R. 12080 My bill, H.R. 12080, is similar or identical to a number of other bills on the subject of veterans pensions. All are aimed at protecting veterans and their widows against any loss of pension arising from the enactment of the social security amendments of 1965.

In 1965, Congress passed a much-needed 7% increase in social security benefits, the first general increase since 1959. The central purpose of the increase was to help meet as least part of increased living costs.

An unfortunate and unforeseen consequence of our 1965 action has been a decrease or a termination in the veterans benefits of nearly 30,000 veterans and widows. This came about because the social security increase moved these individuals into a higher income bracket.

It is argued by some that the 88th Congress anticipated the 7% increase by amending the VA pension law to permit à 10% retirement income exclusion. In other words, the 1964 exclusion was meant to cover the 1965 increase. This position itself has been questioned. In any event, it seems like a very technical argument to the veteran who feels himself aggrieved.

Moreover, when we consider that today's prosperity has not reached persons with fixed income, this makes the technical argument largely irrelevant.

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