New Bill Would Let Vets Keep Benefits Despite Government Gridloc - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New Bill Would Let Vets Keep Benefits Despite Government Gridlocks

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 keeps our nation's promises to veterans by changing the law to authorize funding a year in advance for veterans pensions, spousal support, compensation for service-related injuries and education benefits. This change in law will ensure that beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2016, veterans and military families have certainty in the benefits they've earned and deserve, regardless of shutdowns or gridlock in Congress.

The legislation is currently under consideration in the House of Representatives. The Senate is expected to take it up later this week.

“Today we have forged a new way forward for veterans that changes the lawbooks to provide certainty in the federal checkbooks for the benefits veterans have earned and deserve,” Senator Mikulski said. “This means that beginning next year, veterans will receive their benefits regardless of shutdowns, slamdowns and gridlock in Congress. Veterans and their families should not have to question whether they will get their benefits if the government cannot work together to get the job done. This change in law will better ensure that promises made to veterans are promises kept.”

The legislation includes a new provision to authorize advance funding for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mandatory accounts. Advance funding would provide certainty for veterans benefits including compensation for illnesses and injuries while serving in the military such as combat wounds, hearing loss and PTSD. It also includes advance funding for pensions for those that have been permanently disabled while serving in the military, education benefits including the G.I. Bill ensuring military veterans get assistance with college education, housing, books and board while in school, and spousal support for deceased veterans. Taking effect in fiscal year (FY) 2016, this new authorization will ensure veterans benefits are not held hostage to shutdowns and delays.

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