Tester Bill to Protect Veterans’ Disability Payments Heads to President’s Desk

Bipartisan Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need Act will amend current bankruptcy law to support veterans experiencing financial burdens

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s bipartisan bill to protect veterans’ disability payments recently passed the U.S. Senate and now heads to the President’s desk for signature. 

As Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Tester introduced the Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need (HAVEN) Act to ensure veterans experiencing economic hardship do not have their earned disability benefits penalized.

“Under current bankruptcy law, a civilian disabled by a car wreck is treated better than a veteran disabled because their convoy ran over an improvised explosive device,” Tester said. “For the folks who sacrificed life and limb protecting our country, this disparity is unacceptable. Getting the HAVEN Act signed into law means veterans’ disability payments will be rightfully excluded from burdensome bankruptcy calculations, ensuring vets and their families retain the benefits they earned regardless of their financial circumstances.”

To remove this unequal treatment among various disability benefits, the HAVEN Act would exclude VA and Department of Defense disability payments made to veterans or their dependent survivors from the disposable income calculation used during a bankruptcy proceeding. Excluding these payments from the calculation will keep veterans from having to dip into their disability payments to pay off creditors. 

This legislation is also a part of Tester’s larger push to help combat servicemember and veteran mental health issues, addiction, suicide, poverty, and homelessness – all of which are exacerbated by financial hardship.

The HAVEN Act is supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, Society of Military Widows, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans for Common Sense, Wounded Warrior Project, U.S Army Warrant Officers Association, the Retired Enlisted Association, the Association of the United States Army, the Association of the United States Navy and the American College of Bankruptcy. 

Full text of the HAVEN Act is available online HERE