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Under my bill, the 1965 increase in social security benefits would not be counted in determining the annual income of persons entitled to veterans payments.

Action is clearly necessary, it seems to me, in order to correct an unintended result and, in the eyes of most “victims”, an unexplainable action.

As you



H.R. 15186 Mr. Chairman, the above-captioned bill is identical to H.R. 11932 which you introduced, as well as two other bills that are before this Committee. know they would amend title 38 of the United States Codes to provide for a pension of $75.00 per month for widows of veterans of World War I.

Widows of World War I veterans who elect to remain under the prior pension systems receive only $50.40 per month. Those who are under the pension system which went into effect on July 1, 1960 are entitled to $64.00 per month, provided their other income does not exceed $600 per year, and the scale decreases to $27.00 per month if the outside income is between $1,200 and $1,800 a year. Above that latter amount, they are not eligible for any pension payment.

We all know the terrific increase in the cost of living. While the Administration is being so generous through its many “Great Society” programs, it seems to have forgotten the veterans, their dependents and survivors. Frankly, I think it is time that we took action to see that this segment of Americans—particularly the veterans of World War I or their survivors—are provided with more realistic benefits.

Whether this is done through bills like H.R. 15186 which would assist only the widows of World War I veterans or through a measure like your bill, H.R. 14419, I believe the time has come for the Congress to act on behalf of our country's veterans, their dependents or survivors. In fact, I endorse your bill, H.R. 14419, because it provides for the payment of additional pensions to veterans of World Wars I and II, and the Korean conflict, and to widows of such veterans; raises the income limits with respect to the payment of such pensions; and increases by 10 percent the pension payable to such veterans who served overseas.

H.R. 10930

My bill, H.R. 10930, would amend title 38 of the United States Code to prevent loss of veteran pension benefits as a result of increases in social security benefit payments under the Social Security Amendments of 1965.

First I recommend that the title and any reference in the bill limiting its provisions to Social Security Amendments of 1965 be struck out. The bill should be reworded so it will apply to any increase at any time in social security benefits because this problem should be licked once and for always.

If this change is not made, the next time a social security benefit increase is voted, the permanently and totally disabled veterans, receiving pensions for nonservice-connected disabilities, will be faced with the same problem confronting them today.

As you know, the disabled veterans receiving pensions are adversely affected every time an increase in outside income takes their annual income over the limitation required by law. My bill provides that a social security increase shall not count as additional outside income, thus triggering an automatic cut in the pensions of these disabled veterans.

If there was ever a minority group being discriminated against, it is this small-innumbers, but large-in-need group. Therefore, I respectfully request your favorable action on this bill with the above-recommended change which would eliminate reference to “Amendments of 1965”, or on I.R. 4535 and seven other identical bills which provide that monthly social security benefit payments shall not be considered as income in determining eligibility for pensions under Title 38 of the U.S. Code.


CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK, IN SUPPORT OF H.R. 12271 Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I greatly appreciate the opportunity of submitting to you my statement in support of legislation which would prevent the loss of veterans pension benefits as a result of the increases in social security benefit payments set forth in the Social Security Amendments of 1965.

During the Fall following the enactment of the social security increase (which was made retroactive to January 1, 1965) and in the early months of 1966 I received several dozen letters from veterans and widows who were experiencing a net loss in gross annual income as a direct result of the social security increase which has caused either a complete loss or a substantial reduction of veterans pensions. I immediately investigated and found that many veterans and widows who applied for VA pensions in 1964 or 1965 and whose applications were approved with their income within the statutory limits, suddenly found, as a result of the retroactive social security benefits, that they were over the income limits by a few dollars per year, and their pensions were reduced or taken from them. It seems regrettable that an $8 increase in social security benefits could cause as much as a $40 reduction in VA pension, but this was a case reported to me.

I am keenly aware of the problems being faced by those with fixed incomes as they attempt to keep pace with the rising cost of living, and it does not seem fair that a seemingly beneficial act such as the social security increases, which as you know cannot be waived by the recipient, should cause so many now depending on VA pensions for a large part of their existence to experience à net loss of income that can and does cause undue hardship. These are people depending almost entirely on their pensions to give them at least some element of independence and dignity so that they can keep their homes, meet their barest needs and not have to depend on family or welfare handouts for their support.

The only solution seems to be an amendment to the VA pension law which will exclude the social security increase of 1965 from being counted as income. This my bill, H.R. 12271, will accomplish.

Mr. Chairman, the fact that your Committee is now undertaking a study of veterans pensions indicates to me that you are aware that inequities do exist. This situation which I have brought to your attention is an inadvertent unfairness resulting from two different Congressional acts, and I strongly hope the Committee will recognize it as such and move to correct it swiftly.



In accordance with notice received under date of June 30, 1966 from Staff Director Oliver E. Meadows scheduling the above-entitled bill for a hearing on Tuesday, July 19, 1966, I am submitting herewith the following statement for the appropriate consideration of your esteemed Committee:

The purpose of the bill is to change the status of veterans of the Ute Indian campaign of 1906 to that of veterans of 'Indian Wars' as that term is now defined by statute in order to secure for these few surviving veterans the pensions and other benefits available under law to such designated war veterans.

“At the present time such persons are not included in the category of veterans of the Indian wars, apparently because of the fact that the actual roundup and transportation to the reservation of the Ute Indians did not necessitate a battle. The operation was conducted peacefully.

“In view of contemporary reports of the events leading up to and covering the campaign, the distinction should not be applied in this case. These documents consist of reports of the campaign by the U.S. War Department, newspaper accounts, and statements by federal and state government officials. They show clearly that at the time the Utes left their reservation in Utah and moved across the Wyoming line, the situation was very fluid, and almost any small spark could have set off violence between the Indians moving towards the Dakotas and the local settlers whose livestock and grain was being foraged by the Indians, who made it very clear to all that they had no intention whatsoever of returning to their Utah reservation.

“That the situation was serious is evident from the steps the Federal Government took to avoid bloodshed. In October of 1906, a total of slx troops of U.S. Cavalry were ordered to move towards the Indians' encampment and cut off possible exits. The Cavalry significantly outnumbered the Indians, thus greatly reducing the chance of fighting. Orders were given which indicated that the troops were to discuss the situation with the Indians and try to achieve a peaceful solution. Eventually some chiefs went to Washington and a solution was reached, and the Indians were escorted by the troops to a new reservation more to their liking. The officers in charge were commended for their achievement in reaching a peaceful solution to the problem. The report of the War Department commends Major Johnson, who led the Cavalry in these words: “Major Johnson displayed great influence, tact, and good judgment in controlling and handling these Indians.'

“It appears from official documents that the principle reason for the lack of a battle was the skill shown by Major Johnson and his troops in intercepting the moving Indians, some 400 strong including women and children, and convincing them, by a combination of military strength and a tactful understanding, of the wisdom of going to Fort Meade while their chiefs were taken to Washington to discuss the situation.

“All too often in our dealings with the Indians, we had displayed a marked propensity to shoot first and talk later; this campaign is a model of enlightened dealing with the Indians.

"It seems unfair to penalize the veterans of this campaign and their dependents because they did not kill Indians or were not killed themselves.

“For these reasons I have introduced H.R. 13005 and urge the distinguished Committee on Veterans' Affiars to act favorably thereon.”


CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF LOUISIANA, IN SUPPORT OF H.R. 12426 It is my purpose in submitting this Bill to protect the interests of veterans, their wives, and in many cases their widows. It has been my consistent position to support all types of beneficial veterans legislation. I take this position on behalf of the many veterans in the Sixth District of Louisiana, but also on behalf of veterans everywhere. I believe that we should be ever-grateful to these veterans who were selfless in their devotion to their country, and what is more important, we should show it.

In 1964 Congress passed H.R. 1927 which became Public Law 88–664 effective January 1, 1965. This law was passed in 1964 in the face of an expected rise in Social Security benefits. This Bill was passed because of a fear on the part of many veterans that the expected rise in Social Security benefits would raise some veteran's incomes above the minimum level whereby they could qualify for veterans pension, or it might lower the rate of pension which they could receive. Because of this, this law (99–664) would allow for a 10% exemption of the recipients total income, including Social Security, so that those veterans on the margins of payment levels would not be adversely affected.

However, the anticipated passage of increased Social Security benefits did not materialize. This allowed some veterans, on these marginal levels, to exempt 10% of their total income and thus qualify for a higher veterans pension. Thus, for nine months in 1965 some veterans were receiving a higher pension than they were intended to have. This was, of course, by no fault of their own. When Congress did pass the Social Security increase, in July of 1965, they made it retroactive to January 1, 1965. So, in September of 1965 all persons on Social Security received a lump payment for the first nine months of the year (this was the 7% increase). This meant that at the end of the year a small percentage of the veterans (112%) had received an additional sum. Since Congress authorized this measure these veterans were allowed to keep this money. I was personally in favor of these veterans keeping this money, and continuing to receive pensions of this level, but a majority of Congress felt otherwise.

Now it occurs that because of the increase in pension, plus the accruing Social Security benefits (which raised some veterans real income above their previous levels) some veterans or their dependents eligibility (for pension) is in question.

Is this sensible? Is it fair? Because of the shortsightedness of Congress, should these veterans be punished? By this logic, two wrongs make a right. It is the veteran, not Congress, who is caught in the unfortunate backswing of the pendulum. The veterans were not responsible for their increase so why should they have their pension lowered, or dropped because of an act completely beyond their control.

My Bill would make this increased pension payment exempt in computing income for the purposes of determining eligibility for a veteran's or widow's pension under the existing law. This would allow them to receive the same level of pension as they previously were awarded.

For the duration of my 24 years of service to the people of the Sixth District of Louisiana, I have always supported veteran's legislation. I co-sponsored the G.I. Cold War Bill, and I was instrumental in speeding the mail service to the boys in Vietnam, plus giving them free mailing privileges. I have been a watchdog of all measures which might adversely affect the veteran and this is one of these measures. It is because of my keen interest in the welfare of the veterans that I submit this Bill, one which I hope will again restore the service to those families who so much deserve it.



H.R. 14878
Chairman Teague, Members of the Committee:

I extend my sincere appreciation for being given the opportunity to present this statement for the record. While I regret that I am unable to be here in person to urge your support, I nevertheless, am happy to report that after much careful work an adequate legislative program for veterans and their families has finally been worked into form. Accordingly, I have introduced H.R. 14876 and H.R. 14878. Furthermore, I am pleased to offer my support to H.R. 13215 and H.R. 13217 which have been introduced by the Honorable Mr. Teague and will support all other identical bills which propose to increase the rate of pension to certain veterans, their widows and dependents.

These bills will not change the basic pension law, but merely expand the limits and increase payments to a reasonable degree. They are in line with the increased earnings the Congress permitted the beneficiaries under Social Security and Railroad Retirement to earn and, in an era of rising living costs, are not unreasonable requests. They have the whole-hearted support of many members of the Congress as well as the support of veterans organizations.

H.R. 14876 and H.R. 14878 come at a time when the sacrifices by a few for the benefit of the many are again necessary for the continuation of our American ideals. I think that it would be most timely for the Congress to show its support of those Americans who defend this nation by passing adequate veterans legislation as is before this Committee today.

The soldier of today is the veteran of tomorrow. It makes little sense to provide our fighting men with all of the instruments of modern warfare, then, after his fighting days are over, forget to equip him with a pension adequate for today's standards. These proposed increases in benefits are small indeed when compared to the value of freedom which our veterans have preserved.

As one personally familiar with the present inadequacies of our present veterans pension program, being a member of several veterans organizations myself, I strongly recommend that this Committee provide a favorable report to H.R. 14876 and H.R. 14878 and all other identical bills.


CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF KENTUCKY, IN SUPPORT OF H.R. 12413 The long-established policy of our Government to provide for the aged wartime veterans and their dependents needs continual revision to keep it in line with the current economic developments.

The aged widows of our Spanish-American War veterans are a small and decreasing group but their financial requirements are increasing rapidly. The widows of the veterans of that war, which ended almost seventy years ago, have reached an age at which their financial needs are rapidly increasing while the real value of their pensions is gradually decreasing.

My bill, H.R. 12413, provides for a minimum payment of $100 per month for these widows. Our Government must not be left in a position of practicing economy at the expense of a few aged widows, and the total cost is not sufficient to justify our failure to provide them with the minimum requirements of life.

I urge this Committee to approve a bill to provide a minimum payment, in the amount of $100 per month, to each Spanish-American War veteran's widow. STATEMENT BY THE HONORABLE WILLIAM L. St. ONGE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN



Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Committee, I want to thank you for this opportunity to present my views on the bill now under consideration before your Committee, H. R. 10557, which seeks to amend title 38 of the United States Code to protect any veteran against a loss of pension as a result of enactment of the Social Security Amendments of 1965. As sponsor of this measure, I wish to express my deep gratitude to all of you for scheduling these hearings.

The enactment of the Social Security Amendments of 1965 increased Social Security benefits by 7%. In the case of veterans who were receiving pensions, this increase was treated as an addition to their “income” by the Veterans' Administration for purposes of determing what pension would be paid. This increase in “income” has brought many veterans (an estimated 30,000) over the allowable income limit, at which point their pensions are either decreased or discontinued altogether. Each of the 30,000 veterans lost considerably more than they gained by the increase in Social Security benefits.

Just to give one among many examples in my district, I cite the following: A World War I veteran, who had previously received a pension of $105 a month, ended up with a net loss of $300 a year when his income was raised to over $1,000 by an increase in his Social Security benefits which amounted to $84 a year. Because of the small increase in Social Security benefits his pension was decreased by $25 a month. In a case such as this, common to many veterans, a $300 cut in a yearly income of barely $2,000 could mean a complete and drastic change in one's way of life. A change of this sort at an elderly age is not an easy chore. It can be avoided by the passage of this legislation.

Even though it is true that the 88th Congress authorized a 10% retirement income exclusion for pension purposes and the beneficiaries are receiving more pension in 1966 than they did in 1964, the fact remains that the pension rates for 1966 have been substantially reduced from those of 1965. The fact is that the increase over the 1964 rate resulted from a general increase in pension rates voted by the 88th Congress, and would have been received whether or not the Social Security increase had adversely affected veterans' pensions.

Also, the veterans who were not on the rolls in 1964 became entitled to one rate of pension in 1965 and then, a few months later, it was reduced substantially because of the receipts of a few extra dollars in Social Security payments. Surely, Congress did not intend to deprive these people of all or part of their VA benefits by increasing Social Security payments. These are people who have demonstrated their patriotism beyond the call of their duty as citizens; many have given their lives to their country, and have left widows and children.

On July 7, 1965, the Senate approved, without dissent, an amendment by Senator Miller of Iowa, which would have prevented any cut-back in veterans' pension payments because of the 7% Social Security increase. Senator Long, the manager of the Social Security bill and majority member of the Senate Finance Committee, accepted the amendment after pointing out that there was no intention of having any harsh results by having any veterans deprived of any portion of their pension because of Social Security increases. The amendment went to conference, but unfortunately it was eliminated. This resulted in the situation which now exists, and which my bill, H.R. 10557, seeks to correct.

H.R. 10557 is not identical to the Miller amendment, but it will correct the same unjust condition. If enacted into law, it would eliminate from consideration as income (for purposes of determining eligibility for a pension paid by the Veterans Administration) the increases in monthly Social Security benefits paid to an individual by enactment of the Social Security Amendments of 1965.

The question regarding the effects of the Social Security Amendments of 1965 on veterans' pensions is: "Have you killed me with kindness?” For those directly involved, the increase in Social Security benefits would appear to be a cruel hoax, and the whole intent of the VA pension program and the new Social Security legislation would seem to be defeated. It was a mistake to have overlooked this flaw in the law passed at that time; this can be proven by the present situation. All of the members of this Committee have undoubtedly heard from their constituents regarding this matter. Many veterans are being hurt and will continue to be hurt if the situation is not corrected promptly. This is not a just way to treat our veterans and widows of veterans who have served our country in every war and remained loyal to our democratic ideals.

Mr. Chairman, I strongly urge you and the members of your Committee to approve the proposed bill, H.R. 10557, so that those most deserving of aid will

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