It seems like the VA just keeps saying that they must make 'hard decisions" when figuring their budget and how to assist all Veterans. Time and time again they fall back on the possibility of limiting the amount of benefits some veterans can receive as a way of meeting their own budgeting problems instead of looking at the waste within the VA itself as a way to meet budget demands.
VA Secretary Shulkin has told a House panel that continuing to provide IU/TDIU benefits to veterans above the age of 80 "isn't what makes sense to the average American". Instead, he once again proposed cutting the IU benefit once the veteran becomes eligible for Social Security Retirement benefits. This is a bit of a change in Secretary Shulkin's attitude from his earlier proposal to totally end IU benefits, BUT this new proposal should have all veterans concerned.
Shulkin went on to state that the proposed changes to the IU program would save the agency around 3.2 million in 2018 alone. The proposed changes WOULD NOT affect those veterans who were unable to otherwise collect Social Security.
One of the many problems with cutting the IU benefits based upon the ability to receive Social Security benefits is the fact that many, if not most of the veterans receiving IU have been out of the workforce for many, many years. These vets have not been paying much, if anything, into the Social Security system and would therefore receive very little monthly income from Social Security. This would result in many more vets being pushed into poverty and homelessness. Further, spouses of veterans that receive IU are entitled to health care benefits and that alone could devastate the family if the IU is lost.
The fact is that these veterans have earned the right to collect BOTH benefits. They earn the right to collect the IU benefits due to the fact that they did serve their Country and suffered as a result, plus they worked and paid into the Social Security system.
There has been heated discussions within the veterans community over the proposed assault on the IU program. Some veterans even voicing concerns that the already high suicide rate among vets could skyrocket with any such changes.
Luckily, all previous efforts to trim the IU benefits program have run into very strong opposition from veterans, veteran service organizations, veteran advocates and even some in Congress.