Washington, D.C.—“The budget plan unveiled yesterday completely abandons many of the most severely disabled veterans of the Vietnam generation and could make thousands of elderly veterans homeless,” said John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America. “Frankly,” said Rowan, “we’re extremely alarmed by this provision in the budget proposal, because this is the opposite of what President Trump promised veterans.”
On May 23, the Trump Administration’s Department of Veterans Affairs released the first budget request for Fiscal Year 2018, which begins on October 1, 2017. President Trump’s budget proposal calls for terminating Individual Unemployability (IU) benefits to those eligible for Social Security retirement benefits, under the erroneous rationale that this constitutes a duplication of benefits. The Individual Unemployability program supports veterans who cannot find work due to service-connected injuries, many of whom have been unable to contribute to Social Security as a result of those injuries. This budget proposal would impact nearly every Vietnam-era veteran whose survival depends on the income from Individual Unemployability.
“Since this news broke yesterday, we have been contacted by severely disabled Vietnam veterans from all across the country who are concerned about being made homeless if this budget is accepted by Congress,” said Rowan. “The founding principle of Vietnam Veterans of America is ‘Never Again Will One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another,’ and we hope that the newest generation of veterans will live by this as well. We call on our younger brothers and sisters, and all Americans, to stand with us–this is our time of need.”