Although there has been a lot of lip service paid to veterans being a top priority for the U.S. government, NJ.com reported that at a recent Congressional Budget Office meeting it was suggested that veterans benefits could be scaled back to cut federal spending. Rolling back compensation for categories of veterans and raising TRICARE fees for military veterans were just two of the suggestions given by the CBO.
“To be fair, CBO is not singling out veterans here. There are options in the report to make nervous many segments of society dependent on federal payments, from Social Security recipients to drug manufacturers,” according to what the website reported on the meeting. “But for select veterans’ programs, CBO makes some hard-edged points that lawmakers bent on cutting spending might find compelling, if not persuasive, to help address the nation’s debt crisis.”
Some ideas for saving money from the CBO included:
– Capping military pay raises, which could save $25 billion from 2015 to 2023 and have only a “minor effect” on force retention
– Raising TRICARE fees, which is for retirees, spouses and survivors ages 65 and up
– Narrowing eligibility for VA compensation; last year, The Department of Veterans Affairs paid 520,000 veterans $2.9 billion. CBO said $20 billion could be saved from 2015 to 2023, arguing that it may be helpful to make veterans benefits more like civilian systems where not all medical needs suffered from work are paid in full
Veterans must be aware that the VA is under pressure to minimize payment of benefits wherever they believe they can. Therefore, it is critical that veterans file all claims they believe they are entitled to as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick, & Associates are available to represent veterans at all levels of the VA appeals process.