Beck & Lenox Estate Planning and Elder Law is thrilled to report that a VA Benefits proposal which affects all WWII vets is being proposed in a $1.7 trillion omnibus appropriations bill, which also includes $303 billion for the department’s operations in fiscal 2023. reports Military Times’ recent article entitled “All WWII vets would get VA medical benefits under budget bill.”
The VA estimates that roughly 167,000 WWII-era veterans are still living in the U.S. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that expansion of health and medical care to all World War II veterans could impact about 40,000 currently excluded from VA services.
Currently, eligibility is based on service-connected conditions and financial status, as it is for veterans of other eras. However, advocates have argued that given the WWII generation’s advanced age and critical service to the country, all of those veterans should have the option of using the full slate of VA medical care.
“These men and women responded to an existential threat and were deemed the ‘Greatest Generation,’ largely because of their service,” American Legion National Commander Vincent “Jim” Troiola said in a statement.
The Legion has been pushing for the expansion of care eligibility since 2017. Troiola said the move is needed to provide “benefits that they have absolutely earned.”
In the past, Congress has expanded similar benefits for some World War I veterans. The last living American WWI vet died in 2011.
Other changes being proposed include the following:
- The establishment of a “Buddy Check Week” to promote peer wellness checks for suicide prevention;
- The expansion of student loan repayment programs for department mental health providers; and
- Mandated new research on secondary post-traumatic stress issues for military spouses and children.
Beck & Lenox does not know at press time how or if this expansion impacts the VA Aid & Attendance benefits that some of these WWII vets may already be getting. As we find out more about it, we will publish that information. For info on Aid & Attendance, check out our website section here.
President Joe Biden has indicated that he will sign this bill into law as soon as it is finalized.
Reference: Military Times (Dec. 21, 2022) “All WWII vets would get VA medical benefits under budget bill”