Stars and Stripes recently ran an article talking about Michele Bachmann’s new plan for cutting expenses. Bachmann is the U.S. Representative from the 6th Congressional district in MN and founder of the House Tea Party Caucus, a group promoting cuts in government spending.
Her plan is to decrease spending by $400 billion dollars, including cutting Veterans Affairs budget by $4.5 billion dollars. Here we are involved in two wars, two wars that were not initiated by Veterans, yet this Republican is sending their benefits to the chopping block. The cuts would be in two areas, a cap on increases in VA health care spending and a reduction in disability compensation. What she wants to do is decrease the amount of disability compensation disabled vets receive, by the amount received in Social Security disability.
Veterans Affairs disability compensation is awarded to a veteran that has been disabled while in service to our county. It can be paid for something as major as a soldier losing a limb while in combat, or to a soldier falling down during basic training and shattering a limb. It is paid to the Veteran for a disability incurred by him/her during military service.
Social Security Disability payments are paid to individuals that are determined to have a totally disabling, permanent, medical condition that prevents them from working. Disability payments are not paid short term and/or to individuals that are partially disabled. Social Security Disability payments are awarded to the individual based on the number of work credits earned.
Let’s say a veteran receives $1,500 dollars in VA disability and $750 dollar in Social Security disability. Bachmann’s plan is to deduct the $750 in Social Security Disability payments from the $1,500 dollars the veteran is receiving from Veterans Affairs leaving the Veteran with a total income of $750 dollars.
There are cuts that can be made and there are cuts that can be made, but when it comes to cutting our veterans disability benefits so the Republicans can continue to provide billions of dollars in subsidies to the oil industry, a line has to be drawn.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics tea party candidates received an average contribution of $25,000 from the oil and gas industry, so it’s not surprising cuts to Veterans benefits are being considered by this Tea Party Republican prior to considering cuts in oil subsidies.