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I believe that the changes called for in this bill are vital if we hope to maintain a just balance between benefits for disabled veterans and changes in our economic structure and standard of living. I receive daily mail from veterans in my district complaining that the cost of living increase in recent years has significantly lessened the effectiveness of present benefits. For example, the original automobile allowance for disabled veterans was $1,600. At that time a veteran could buy a new Oldsmobile for that amount. Today he would be lucky to be able to purchase a second-hand Edsel for the same amount. This bill would raise the automobile allowance from, $1,600 to $2,500 which seems to me to be a much more reasonable figure.

Furthermore the bill would provide for an overall increase in compensation of seventeen percent, based upon a combination of cost of living factors. This, I believe, is a most reasonable and vital provision.

Other changes that H.R. 14995 and H.R. 16087 would effect are: One hundred percent disabled veterans would have compensation increased from three hundred to four hundred fifty dollars per month. And the categories of ten to ninety per cent disability would receive an increase of ten to fifteen per cent.

Those men who suffered double amputations would receive an increase of fifteen per cent.

There is a provision for an increase loan guarantee on VA homes from $7,500 to $10,000. This provision, of course, has already been passed by the House in a separate bill.

There would be an increase in burial allowance from $250 to $400. And there would be an increase in dependancy and compensation for widows, children and dependant parents amounting to ten per cent.

In addition to these compensation and benefit increases the bill would include several new groups for coverage for the first time. One of these new groups interests me particularly. Any veteran suffering from a chronic disease becoming manifest to a degree of ten per cent within five years from the date of separation where the man spent ninety days or more in a prisoner of war camp is intitled to special coverage. The coverage for Parkinson's disease will extend to seven years from the date of eparatio I support his provision and feel that it is essential to the intent of the bill. But I would also like to restate my support for legislation to benefit ex-POWs which I introduced in both the 88th and 89th Congresses to establish a fifty per cent disability rating for veterans who were detained in a POW camp for a period of thirty-six months or more.

Surely our nation owes much to those men whose life and limb have been imperiled in the defense of freedom and in the struggle to preserve and maintain our whole way of life. The price may seem high when life or limb or eye sight are asked of our men. But surely the preservation of freedom and justice are worth the high price. Let us never falter in our duty to assure that those who have paid this price benefit from our appreciation and gratitude.

Thank you.

STATEMENT BY THE HONORABLE Don H. CLAUSEN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS

FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, RELATING TO H.R. 16168

I am pleased to have this opportunity to submit a statement for the record of the hearings on legislation to provide increased pensions, disability compensation rates, and to liberalize income limitations for veterans of the Armed Services.

Last month I introduced a bill which, if passed, will have the effect of providing increased disability compensation rates for those military veterans who have given so much for so many.

A review of the history of veterans benefits legislation clearly reveals the historic national intent that war veterans, and particularly those disabled in war, should have an income that would enable them to subsist at a level above the valley of the shadow of poverty. Over the years, in carrying out the will of the Nation, the Congress has established a program of veterans benefits second to noneone which we believe reflects the Nation's great concern for the mental, physical, and economic welfare of those who served it in time of need or peril. However, the several increases in the monthly rates of these benefits, and the additional income exclusions in determinations of annual income notwithstanding, the economic welfare of these beneficiaries is again threatened by the soaring cost of living.

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In debating and determining compensation rates for disabled veterans, we must be mindful of the fact that many of these men have actually sacrified the physical ability to pursue self-supporting careers. Money is no substitute for physical well-being, and increased benefits will not bring back the health, or the arm, or the eye lost on the field of battle. But we can, and indeed, we must insure that these victims of mindless war are never without the means to maintain a decent standard of living without seeking welfare assistance. Let us not, at this critical point in a critical age, withhold from those who have given so generously of themselves.

In conclusion, I urge this committee and Congress to seriously consider and accept the provisions of H.R. 16168 and similar bills now pending. The enactment of this legislation is, in my judgment, essential in view of the rapidly escalating cost of living, and as just recognition for those who have served their country so well.

COMPENSATION INCREASE BILLS PENDING BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON COMPENSATION AND PENSION OF THE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS

H.R. 508, Mr. Dorn

H.R. 14773, Mr. Teague of Texas
H.R. 1356, Mr. Teague of Texas H.R. 14775, Mr. Waldie
H.R. 1386, Mr. T eague of Texas H.R. 14995, Mr. Teague of Texas
H.R. 2070, Mr. Dorn

H.R. 15158, Mr. Whalley
H.R. 2583, Mr. Teague of Texas H.R. 15259, Mr. Thompson of N.J.
H.R. 3112, Mr. Roberts

H.R. 15338, Mr. Eilberg H.R. 3772, Mr. Kornegay

H.R. 15617, Mr. Wampler H.R. 4341, Mr. Saylor

H.R. 15692, Mr. Howard H.R. 4712, Mr. Edmondson

H.R. 15779, Mr. Harsha H.R. 11371, Mr. Teague of Texas H.R. 15783, Mr. Resnick H.R. 12046, Mr. Long of Louisiana H.R. 15853, Mr. Hanna H.R. 14184, Mr. Ashmore

H.R. 16027, Mr. Teague of Texas H.R. 14227, Mr. Cramer

H.R. 16085, Mr. Boland H.R. 14435, Mr. McFall

H.R. 16087, Mr. Gonzalez H.R. 14531, Mr. Holland

H.R. 16128, Mr. Hanley
H.R. 14635, Mr. McFall

H.R. 16158, Mr. Halpern
H.R. 14666, Mr. Teague of Texas H.R. 16168, Mr. Don Clausen
H.R. 14721, Mr. Corman

VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION,
OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS,

Washignton, D.C., April 3, 1968.
Hon. OLIN E. TEAGUE,
Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs,
House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : This is in reply to your request for a report by the Veterans Administration on H.R. 16027, 90th Congress.

The bill proposes to increase, in varying amounts, the rates of service-connected disability compensation payable to wartime and peacetime veterans. The rates of compensation were last increased by Public Law 89–311, effective December 1, 1963.

The basic purpose of the disability compensation program, throughout its history, has been to provide relief for the impaired earning capacity of veterans disabled as the result of their military service. The amount payable varies according to the degree of disability which in turn is required by the law (38 USC 355) to represent, to the extent practicable, the average impairment in earning capacity resulting from such disability or combination of disabilities in civil occupations. The degree of a given veteran's loss of earning capacity is determined in accordance with the Veterans Administration's Schedule for Rating Disabilities.

As you know, for several years the Veterans Administration has been engaged in the preliminary steps of an extensive project designed to test whether the Schedule for Rating Disabilities accurately represents the degree of average economic impairment resulting from disability. Employing the facilities of the Bureau of Census, we have just this year begun the full-scale study. The assembly and evaluation of the data obtained in this study, and the reflection of that information in necessary changes, if any, of the Rating Schedule, will require an extended period of time.

In developing techniques for use in the study which is now under way, we conducted a pilot study. While much of the information obtained through this preliminary study cannot be regarded as conclusive, it does show that the average totally disabled veteran on our compensation rolls has virtually no earnings and is dependent on his disability compensation. As you know, the United States Veterans Advisory Commission, established early in 1967 at the direction of the President to conduct a comprehensive study of the veterans' benefit structure, has recently completed its task and has submitted a number of recommendations in its recent report to me. With respect to the disability compensation rate payable to the totally disabled veteran, the Commission's report recommends an increase in this category of cases such as is proposed in H.R. 16027.

H.R. 16027 proposes a $100 monthly increase in the rate payable for total disability. This increase would raise the basic compensation payable to a totally disabled veteran from $3600 annually to $4800 (plus up to an additional $660 compensation payable for dependents under 38 USC 315). The bill would also provide a $100 monthly increase for the higher statutory rates which existing law (38 USC 314(1)-(p) and (s)) provides for certain very serious disabilities or combinations of disabilities. In the light of the preliminary results obtained from the pilot study, some increase in excess of the cost of living for the totally disabled veteran is clearly warranted. If action on the bill is limited to increases at this time for the totally disabled veterans, the first year's cost would be $137.0 million.

With respect to veterans on the compensation rolls who are less than totally disabled (i.e., from 10 percent through 90 percent), the bill proposes an acrossthe-board increase of 8 percent (rounded to the nearest dollar). It is understood that this is intended to represent a cost of living increase. A comparison of the consumer price indices between the time of the last compensation increase and the present time reflects an upward change of about 7 percent. Nevertheless, it should be noted that any across-the-board increase presupposes the economic validity of the base compensation now being paid in these cases. As has been pointed out, our extensive economic validation study is designed for the specific purpose of revealing whether the economic impairment of each of the several thousand specific disabilities is correctly reflected in our Rating Schedule. These findings will, of course, translate themselves into the adequacy or inadequacy of the amount of compensation payable in each case.

While the definitive findings in our validation study will not be available for some period of time, we are hopeful that in the next several months we will receive such further data as may form a basis for reaching some reasonable conclusions with respect to the need for increased compensation rates. This should enable us to furnish to the Committee at a later date more intelligent advice as to the soundness of the various rates for all categories of disability accompanied by recommendations for such increases as may be justified.

The Vetreans Administration is in favor of adjustments, when warranted, of compensation rates based on cost of living increases. As indicated above, data now available support the need for an increase in rates for the totally disabled exceeding a cost of living increase. Whether this amount of increase should be as large as proposed in H.R. 16027 is a judgment which at this time can only be approximate. Even if we accept the incomplete data of the pilot study, we believe there are additional factors bearing on the rates of veterans' compensation which need to be more carefully evaluated. For example, disability compensation is tax exempt and beneficiaries receive substantial services in kind, such as health benefits, etc. Nevertheless, available data would indicate that an increase in the range of $100 a month would not be unreasonable.

We would hope that the foregoing would be given serious consideration by the Committee in connection with the establishment of an appropriate effective date for this legislation.

The Committee will recall that the Veterans Administration early last year submitted to the Congress, and recommended the enactment of, a draft bill proposing to repeal the provisions of existing law providing (a) a minimum rate of disability compensation for veterans with service-connected tuberculous disease which “has reached a condition of complete arrest”, and (b) certain minimum disability rations for tuberculosis for a period of time after the disease has become arrested. Our proposal was referred to your Committee on February 15, 1967. The law has prescribed the minimum rate and ratings for many years. During this period the picture with respect to tuberculosis has changed most significantly and dramatically. The tuberculosis death rate has declined to the

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point of relative insignificance; advances in medical science can now bring about the rapid and stable arrest of the disease; thereafter there is little impairment of the veteran's employability or employment; and improved Veterans Administration rating practices now permit the rating of arrested tuberculosis consistent with the basic concept of our Rating Schedule. Accordingly, we believe the minimum rate and ratings can no longer be justified.

The United States Advisory Commission in the course of its study, reviewed this area of the disability compensation program and, although it would limit the discontinuance to prospective cases, its recommendation for repeal of the statutory award and graduated disability ratings for arrested tuberculosis represents agreement in principle with the Veterans Administration. The consideration of H.R. 16027 presents an opportunity for the Committee to act on our proposal with respect to arrested tuberculosis. We urge that it be incorporated in this bill.

It is estimated that H.R. 16027, if enacted in its present form, would affect some 1,951,000 veterans the first year at an additional cost of approximately $234.7 million. The number affected and the additional cost would increase slightly each year thereafter to 1,964,000 veterans at an additional cost of $236.2 million during the 5th year. These costs would be offset in part by adop

on of the mentioned tuberculosis amendments by approximately $46.0 million. No provision was made in the Fiscal Year 1969 budget for the cost of H.R. 16027.

Advice has been received from the Bureau of the Budget that there is no ob-
jection to the presentation of this report from the standpoint of the
Administration's program.
Sincerely,

W. J. DRIVER, Administrator.

[H.R. 508, 90th Cong., first sess.) A BILL To amend title 38 of the United States Code to increase the rate of compensation

which is payable to veterans with service-connected disabilities Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 314 of title 38, United States Code is amended,

(1) by striking out "$21” in subsection (a) and inserting in lieu thereof "$22”;

(2) by striking out “$40” in subection (b) and inserting in lieu thereof “$42”;

(3) by striking out “$60" in subsection (c) and inserting in lieu thereof "$62";

(4) by striking out “$82" in subsection (d) and inserting in lieu thereof “$87";

(5) by striking out “$113" in subsection (e) and inserting in lieu thereof "$120";

(6) by striking out “$136” in subsection (f) and inserting in lieu thereof "$145";

(7) by striking out “$161" in subsection (g) and inserting in lieu thereof “$175";

(8) by striking out “$186" in subsection (h) and inserting in lieu thereof "$205";

(9) by striking out “$209 in subsection (i) and inserting in lieu thereof “$230”;

(10) by striking out "$300" in subsection (j) and inserting in lieu thereof “$350";

(11) by striking out “$600" in subsection (k) and inserting in lieu thereof “$675";

(12) by striking out “$400” in subsection (1) and inserting in lieu thereof "460";

(13) by striking out “$450" in subsection (m) and inserting in lieu thereof "$510”;

(14) by striking out "$525" in subsection (n) and inserting in lieu thereof “$610";

(15) by striking out “$600” each place where it appears in subsections (0) and (p) and inserting in lieu thereof “$75" in each such place;

(16) by striking out "$250" in subsection (r) and inserting in lieu thereof “$300"; and

(17) by striking out "$350” in subsection (s) and inserting in lieu thereof "$410".

SEC. 2. The Administrator of Veterans' Affairs may adjust administratively, consistent with the increases provided by the first section of this Act, the rates of disability compensation payable to persons within the purview of section 10 of Public Law 85–857 who are not in receipt of compensation payable pursuant to chapter 11 of title 38, United States Code.

SEC. 3. This Act and the amendments made by it shall take effect on the first day of the second calendar month which begins after the date of enactment of this Act.

(H.R. 1356, 90th Cong., first sess.] A BILL To amend section 314 (k) of title 38, United States Code, to authorize payment

of statutory awards for each anatomical loss or loss of use specified therein Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 314(k) of title 38, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

“(k) if the veteran, as the result of service-connected disability, has suffered the anatomical loss or loss of use of one or more creative organs, or one foot, or one hand, or both buttocks, or blindness of one eye, having only light perception, or has suffered complete organic aphonia with constant inability to communicate by speech, or deafness of both ears, having absence of air and bone conduction, the rate of compensation therefor shall be $47 per month for each such loss or loss of use independent of any other compensation provided in subsections (a) through (j) or subsection (s) of this section but in no event to exceed $400 per month; and in the event the veteran has suffered one or more of the disabilities heretofore specified in this subsection, in addition to the requirement for any of the rates specified in subsections (1) through (n) of this section, the rate of compensation shall be increased by $47 per month for each such loss or loss of use, but in no

event to exceed $600 per month ;". SEC. 2. Any increased compensation authorized by the amendment made by the first section of this Act shall be effective as of the first day of the second calendar month which begins after the date of enactment of this Act.

[H.R. 1386, 90th Cong., first sess.) A BILL To amend title 38 of the United States Code to increase rates of disability

compensation paid to service disabled veterans Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That (a) section 314 of title 38, United States Code, is amended

(1) by striking out "$21” in subsection (a) and inserting in lieu thereof "$22" ;

(2) by striking out "$40" in subsection (b) and inserting in lieu thereof “$42" ;

(3) by striking out "$60” in subsection (c) and inserting in lieu thereof "$62";

(4) by striking out "$82" in subsection (d) and inserting in lieu thereof "$87" ;

(5) by striking out “$113” in subsection (e) and inserting in lieu thereof "$120";

(6) by striking out “$136" in subsection (f) and inserting in lieu thereof “$145";

(7) by striking out “$161" in subsection (g) and inserting in lieu thereof $175";

(8) by striking out “$186” in subsection (h) and inserting in lieu thereof "$205";

(9) by striking out “$209" in subsection (i) and inserting in lieu thereof

(10) by striking out “$300” in subsection (j) and inserting in lieu thereof “$350";

(11) by striking out “$600" in subsection (k) and inserting in lieu thereof "$675";

“$230”;

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