Department of Defense Proposes New Veterans Benefits

The House Armed Services’ Military Personnel Subcommittee is showing support for veterans collecting disability benefits through proposed personnel section of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) annual defense authorization bill.

Most notable for disabled veterans is the endorsement of the 1.7% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) that helps offset the impact consumer good increases has on living expenses. While this increase is automatic for many other government benefit recipients it must be approved by an act of Congress for veterans’ disability benefits.

Other provisions in the draft support new benefits to allow servicemembers, involuntarily separated from the military, to remain in their military family housing for an additional 180 days and provides for continued use of the commissary for 2 years after separation. The proposed personnel section also calls for involuntarily separated members of the Selected Reserves to continue to receive Tricare health and dental coverage for up to 6 months

With military sexual assault continuing to be an area of concern, especially in the matter of veterans’ mental health, the proposal includes a call to strengthen the military’s response to these issues. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had previously announced the military provisions that the DoD would be putting into effect to create specific plans to deal with assault allegations.

The proposed bill will be presented to the full House committee for a vote early this month, but legislators have stated that they don’t expect the bill to be passed by Congress prior to the November elections. Meanwhile, veterans seeking disability benefits are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to begin the claim process so they’re able to take advantage of the COLA benefit increase should the bill pass into law later this year.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from Veterans Help Group is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today  1-855-855-8992.