WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tonight, the Senate unanimously approved legislation designed to enhance a number of benefits for veterans and their families, including compensation, housing, employment, education, burial, and insurance benefits.
One key provision of the legislation would provide for retroactive payments to those servicemembers who suffered traumatic injury while on active duty on or between October 7, 2001, and November 30, 2005. Previously, this benefit was only available to servicemembers who suffered a traumatic injury in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom theaters of operation during that time period.
“I am pleased that the Senate passed this much needed legislation. Without it, some servicemembers who suffered traumatic injuries would be denied the same retroactive payment given to their wounded comrades,” said U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and author of this bill.
Among other things, S. 728, as amended, the Veterans’ Benefits Enhancement Act of 2009, would:
• Strengthen life insurance and mortgage insurance programs for disabled veterans;
• Remove the enrollment cap on the number of veterans allowed in VA’s Independent Living program; and
• Ease the burden of proof on veterans seeking to establish that their disabilities are related to their service.
Ocotober 7, 2009