O’Halleran, Gallego Lead Letter to Secretary Shulkin Opposing Veteran Program Cuts

June 12, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC - Today, Congressmen Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) and Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) sent a bipartisan letter, signed by 55 additional members of Congress, to Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin opposing the proposed cuts to the Individual Unemployability (IU) program within President Donald Trump’s budget proposal.

“The proposed cuts to the Individual Unemployability program undermine the promises and commitments we have made to our veterans and put them at risk of becoming destitute and impoverished,” said Rep. O’Halleran. “We must not turn our backs on our most vulnerable veterans who have sacrificed for our country. If we are serious about ending veteran homelessness, we cannot allow these cuts. I join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle and our leading veteran service organizations in opposing these shortsighted, irresponsible cuts.”

“The severe cuts to Individual Unemployability that President Trump has proposed are a shameful affront not only to the elderly and disabled veterans they will needlessly hurt, but to veterans of every generation,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Marine Corps veteran of the Iraq War.  “By slashing these critical benefits, Trump could push thousands of veterans into poverty, despair and even homelessness.  The American people should be outraged.”    

The IU program provides unemployment benefits to more than 200,000 disabled senior veterans with a 60 to 100 percent disability rating. The budget proposal would end payments once the veteran reached the minimum age for Social Security, incorrectly assuming that veterans with service-connected disabilities have had access and ability to contribute to Social Security. Their inability to work due to a service-connected disability makes their IU payments vital to their economic stability.

In addition, Veteran Service Organizations, such as VoteVets and the Military Officers Association of America, oppose these cuts to the Individual Unemployability program.

You can read the letter here.