Kuster responds to critics of budget deal's impact on vets' pensions
U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., speaks to David Wiggin, commander of the Dover office of the Disabled American Veterans, during a roundtable discussion Monday in Concord about backlogs for disabled veteran benefits. (MARK HAYWARD/UNION LEADER)
Daniel Yoder, adjutant of the New Hampshire American Legion, said most federal workers will get cost-of-living raises, but most veterans receiving pensions will see a reduction in their raise.
"It was not the best provision," Kuster said about the 1-percentage-point reduction in future cost-of-living raises. She said she also disliked the elimination of extensions of unemployement benefits.
She said the budget will avoid budget sequester or a shutdown. A sequester would mean across-the-board cuts for all veteran and active military programs, she said; a shutdown would cause a backlog in veteran disability claims.
Most discussion centered on the backlog of applications for disability compensation claims. The House has passed a Kuster-sponsored bill to encourage automation to eliminate the backlogs. Kuster said her bill is now in the Senate.
Meanwhile, several participants said veterans are resisting filing claims related to mental or behavioral problems.
They don't want to be labeled as have problems with post-traumatic stress disorder.
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