Sending Office: Honorable Maxine Waters
Please join me in cosponsoring the Protecting Benefits for Disabled Veterans Act of 2019, which would codify and make permanent the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Individual Unemployablity (IU) program. The IU program compensates veterans
who are unable to maintain gainful employment because of a service-connected disability.
Over three and a half million veterans live with a disability connected to their service to the United States. For many, these disabilities make obtaining and maintaining employment difficult, if not impossible. When a veteran with a service-connected
disability applies for benefits, the VA assesses the disability and assigns it a rating, on a 0-100% scale, with 100% representing a “total” disability; a higher rating means the veteran is entitled to more compensation. Specifically, the IU program allows
veterans with a 60% disability rating, or two or more disabilities with ratings totaling 70%, to be compensated as if they had received a 100% rating, if the veteran’s disability prevents him or her from obtaining and maintaining gainful employment. The IU
program was created in recognition of the fact that some disabilities, even if the VA does not consider them to be a “total” disability, can prevent veterans from maintaining employment.
Although this program has assisted disabled veterans since 1934, it is not authorized in statute and it has consistently been the target of cost-cutting proposals. When President Donald Trump proposed reducing the number of veterans eligible for IU and
cutting the program by $3.2 billion in 2017, his budget allocation was met with widespread condemnation by veterans and veterans advocacy organizations. Cuts to the IU program could throw thousands of veterans into poverty and homelessness, and would mean
a significant loss of income for our most vulnerable veterans and their families.
The Protecting Benefits for Disabled Veterans Act will ensure that veterans, who are unable to maintain employment due to a service-connected disability, can continue to have access to the IU program as it currently exists. To that end, by clarifying
and including all veterans who are entitled to compensation, the Act ensures that veterans applying for the IU program will not be denied based on their age or eligibility for retirement benefits.
If you have any questions, or if you would like to cosponsor this legislation, please contact Mr. Andres Bascumbe on my staff at
Andres.Bascumbe@mail.house.gov, or 202-225-2201.
Member of Congress
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