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Iu Issue From Senate Member-

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Guest Berta

Question

I just received this from one of our former members-

havent read it all-

the idea seems to sound absurd---

http://veterans.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseA...ear=2005&id=295

U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs

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412 Russell

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Washington D.C. 20510

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(202) 224-9126

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Home » Newsroom and Photos » Press Releases

CRAIG WANTS VA TO HELP UNEMPLOYED VETERANS FIND WORK

October 28, 2005

Contact: Jeff Schrade (202)224-9093

(Washington, DC) With a dramatic rise in the number of veterans deemed unemployable, the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs took a look Thursday at what is driving the increase, and what steps can be taken to help those that can still work get the help they need.

At the hearing the Government Accountability Office reported that from fiscal years 1999 to 2004, the number of veterans receiving unemployability benefits more than doubled, from 95,000 to 197,000. There are now over 221,000 veterans who have been deemed unemployable by the VA.

(See pictures from the hearing by clicking on: 2005 - October 27 - Employability hearing. To watch the hearing on-line, Click Here to View Hearing.)

"With today’s modern technologies, individuals with disabilities have more opportunities than ever before to become productive members of society," said Chairman Larry Craig. "While the unemployability benefit may certainly be appropriate for some, the presumption must be that every individual with disabilities can overcome barriers to employment. A positive, employment-oriented attitude towards veterans with disabilities must be VA’s focus, and the eligibility assessment for IU should reflect that attitude."

Individual Unemployability, or IU, is a benefit paid to veterans with disabilities rated between 60-90 percent disabling and is granted when the veteran's individual circumstances suggest that gainful employment is unlikely because of the disability.

"The IU benefit should be viewed as the benefit of last resort," Craig said. "I reject the notion, put forth by some at the hearing, that veterans with disabilities can’t work, that we shouldn’t waste resources even making the effort to try, and that looking for work is somehow demeaning. We should provide people with every opportunity for financial growth."

Cynthia Bascetta, Director of the GAO’s Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues department told the committee that the VA could learn more from the private sector when dealing with people who have been deemed unemployable.

"Incorporating return-to-work practices could help VA modernize its disability program to enable veterans to realize their full productive potential without jeopardizing the availability of benefits for people who cannot work," Bascetta said.

That is just what the Chairman said he wants.

"I see a generation of people today, coming home, with substantial impairments, but with high hopes that they’re going to go back to productive lives. We ought to be doing everything we can to optimize those opportunities," Craig said.

#####

<<September 2005 October 2005

November 2005>>

28th - SENATE CONFIRMS THREE FORMER SENATE STAFFERS TO VA POSTS

28th - CRAIG WANTS VA TO HELP UNEMPLOYED VETERANS FIND WORK

25th - EXPLOSIVE GROWTH OF DISABLED VETERANS DEEMED UNEMPLOYABLE, TO BE EXAMINED THURSDAY

20th - VA OFFICIALS PLEDGE "INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY" REORGANIZATION TO THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS

19th - 16 YEAR OLD LIVING IN GERMANY GETS U.S. SENATE PAGE POSITION THROUGH CHAIRMAN LARRY CRAIG

18th - VA’S INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY TO BE HEARING FOCUS THURSDAY

12th - NEW MOBILE MRI MACHINE WILL AID VETERANS AND SERVICE PERSONNEL IN SOUTHWEST IDAHO

5th - SENATE VOTES TO AWARD CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL TO THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN

3rd - SEN. CRAIG’S BILL SEEKS TO PRESERVE DIGNITY OF ARLINGTON AND OTHER NATIONAL CEMETERIES

3rd - U.S. SENATE HONORS VA EMPLOYEES FOR HURRICANE EFFORTS

About the CommitteeLegislationNewsroom and PhotosHearingsIssuesPublicationsLinksContact the Veterans' Affairs Committee

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Edited by Berta
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If they want to get veterans off of IU or 100% they will NEED to have some sort of guarantee to the veteran of a minimal monthly income. I have proposed this before on the old baord, but will go over it briefly here:

A veteran that gets rated at the 100% level (scheduler or IU) should be locked into that rate for life (if the condition is of a chronic nature), but if said person should be able to work in the future then he or she should have any monies earned be subtracted from the following year's compensation payments. In other words, if a 100% PTSD vet can makes 2500/mnth from the VA in 2005, but averages $1000/mnth at a part time, low stress job, then that vet should not have to worry about the VA slashing benefits; rather, the VA should then lower the following year's compensation to $1500/mnth.

I believe this takes the stress off of the veteran and allows for veterans to better test their limits. As the system is set up now, if a 100% vet decided to even TRY to work, even if part time, the VA could take that as a material improvement and attempt to lower the veteran's rating. Also, it help assure veterans that they will always recieve a minimum amount of monthly compensation in which to live off of....if a vet in a wheelchair can make $3000/mnth from the VA, but only $1200/mnth in fulltime employment (due to the limitations of the disability), what incentive is there to even attempt to work? Of crouse the vet can still draw a lesser amount of compensation, but the drop from 100% to 70% + limited work income is less then what the vet can make on 100% + SSDI.

This program will also, be a huge help to PTSD vets who often have an overwhelming urge to work, even though they will eventually find that they are unable to sustain employment due to their disability...this will give them the opportunity to test their limits and, perhaps, get better without the fear of the VA cutting benefits (money is the #1 stressor in our country and NO PTSD vet can handle the stress of HAVING to work to live on top of their PTSD issues...this effectively eliminates that presser IMO).

P.S. - I believe this is win/win situation for both the VA and the veteran. It gives a level of stability to veterans that they otherwise wouldn't have, plus gives them the incentive to improve their condition. The VA will, in turn, save money by slashing payments to compensate for veterans who have chosen to go to work (may best guess would be that a large % of vets who are 100%/IU would be working in some fashion if they had this guarantee).

Edited by Jay Johnson
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  • HadIt.com Elder

somebody needs to explain the difference between unemployed veterans and unemployable veterans, he obviously does not understand the difference. Getting a 5.25 an hour job is not going to keep any one living at a decent life style, then you still have some one yelling at you to speed it up and do more work. It's not like 55-60 year old guys are going to deal with a situation like that with PTSD, if they try to force them some young teenager manager at McD's is gonna have more trouble than he can handle. They can't make us whole and trying to force us to work at a degrading job is not the answer, if I have to get a job can I have the same one as the guy at Dorn records area that gets paid to sleep at his desk for 8 hours a day, he has a job but they don't make him do anything, but they can claim he's employed.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

To me, the idea is sound. The absurdity lies in thinking that any bureaucracy, yet alone VA's fumbling one, could administer such a program efficiently and compassionately.

Jay's idea has merit, and if the VA really lived up to it's mandate, then far more effort would be expended on helping the disabled get back to the work place.

The big problem with IU, is that once it is awarded, it is very easy to fall into the "welfare" mentality, where after a while, there is no desire to work or be productive.

It is a well know, and well cataloged fact, that people on public aid, of any type, quickly become adjusted to that life style, and many lose any ambition to change it. The length of time for the change to occur, generally depends upon two things, the attitude of the individual, and the level of aid provided.

Those with low self-esteem will quickly succumb to laziness, as will those receiving enough assistance to live a comfortable life-style. This area has been extensively studied and documented, since the Great Depression. It is one reason for the rise in the "Social Sciences" in American acedeme, and the rise in busybodies in Government service.

;)

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If they want to get veterans off of IU or 100% they will NEED to have some sort of guarantee to the veteran of a minimal monthly income. I have proposed this before on the old baord, but will go over it briefly here:

A veteran that gets rated at the 100% level (scheduler or IU) should be locked into that rate for life (if the condition is of a chronic nature), but if said person should be able to work in the future then he or she should have any monies earned be subtracted from the following year's compensation payments. In other words, if a 100% PTSD vet can makes 2500/mnth from the VA in 2005, but averages $1000/mnth at a part time, low stress job, then that vet should not have to worry about the VA slashing benefits; rather, the VA should then lower the following year's compensation to $1500/mnth.

I believe this takes the stress off of the veteran and allows for veterans to better test their limits. As the system is set up now, if a 100% vet decided to even TRY to work, even if part time, the VA could take that as a material improvement and attempt to lower the veteran's rating. Also, it help assure veterans that they will always recieve a minimum amount of monthly compensation in which to live off of....if a vet in a wheelchair can make $3000/mnth from the VA, but only $1200/mnth in fulltime employment (due to the limitations of the disability), what incentive is there to even attempt to work? Of crouse the vet can still draw a lesser amount of compensation, but the drop from 100% to 70% + limited work income is less then what the vet can make on 100% + SSDI.

This program will also, be a huge help to PTSD vets who often have an overwhelming urge to work, even though they will eventually find that they are unable to sustain employment due to their disability...this will give them the opportunity to test their limits and, perhaps, get better without the fear of the VA cutting benefits (money is the #1 stressor in our country and NO PTSD vet can handle the stress of HAVING to work to live on top of their PTSD issues...this effectively eliminates that presser IMO).

P.S. - I believe this is win/win situation for both the VA and the veteran. It gives a level of stability to veterans that they otherwise wouldn't have, plus gives them the incentive to improve their condition. The VA will, in turn, save money by slashing payments to compensate for veterans who have chosen to go to work (may best guess would be that a large % of vets who are 100%/IU would be working in some fashion if they had this guarantee).

Take 1000 per month from the vet and let him earn 1000 per month. Do the math 1000 per month minus 7.5 percent ssa another 7.5 percent federal tax ( Total 15 percent. State and locat taxes also apply.) example of 20 percent so the vet is losing 200 dollars. That is ubsurd. ( Next)

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Take 1000 per month from the vet and let him earn 1000 per month. Do the math 1000 per month minus 7.5 percent ssa another 7.5 percent federal tax ( Total 15 percent. State and locat taxes also apply.) example of 20 percent so the vet is losing 200 dollars. That is ubsurd. ( Next)

At an income of 12K/yr you would not only NOT pay taxes, but you would get earned income credit (up to 5K paid to you from uncle sam for being poor, as your VA check does not count as earned income for tax purposes). Also, those who recieve SSDI would need to fall under the same protections as I'm proposing the VA should follow (IE - not lose your SSDI; rather, subtrat your income from your total disability [sSDI + VA]). Typically you do not pay federal taxes on any income below 20K and up to 36K with dependents, but, if it were an issue, they could allow for specific non-tax status for the first portion of your paycheck that amounts to your disability pay (IE - if you make 3K from VA + SSDI, but make 5K in your job, then you are not taxed on the first 3K of your paycheck).....there are several details that would have to be worked out, but it is definitely doable and helps both the VA and the veteran in the long run.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

In the real world vets are better off keeping their TDIU than looking for some pie in the sky government sponsored job. IU and SSDI and all disability programs do kill incentives. I worked at a job for the government where they did as little as legally possible to accommodate disabled vets, so don't expect the government to help.

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