• Question
  • S. 1315 -- Veterans' Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007

    Asked on 8/29/2007

    S. 1315 would affect several Veterans Programs, including Disability Compensation, Pension, Burial, Life Insurance, and Readjustment Benefits.

    Also, the Bill contains provisions that would both increase and decrease direct spending for Veterans Benefits.

    Supplemental Funeral and Burial Expenses --

    Under current law, the VA pays funeral expenses up to $300 for deceased Veterans who had been receiving compensation or pension benefits and for whom no next of kin can be located.

    VA also pays up to $2,000 for burial expenses to the survivors of Veterans who die as a result of their Service-Connected Disability.

    Section 701 would increase the maximum for funeral and burial expenses to $1,200 and $4,100 respectively, and would increase these amounts annually by a cost-of-living adjustment.

    Supplemental Plot Allowance --

    Under current law, the VA pays a $300 plot allowance for Veterans who died in a VA facility or are to be buried in a State or private cemetary.

    Section 702 would increase the Plot Allowance to $745 and would adjust the allowance annually by a cost-of-living index.

    Supplemental Automobile Grants for Disabled Veterans --

    The Department of Veterans Affairs currently provides grants of $11,000 for the purchase of an automobile or other vehicle to Seriously Disabled Veterans who, as the result of Service-Connected injury or disease, have lost the use of one or both hands, (or feet), or have suffered a severe vision impairment.

    While these grants are mandatory payments made from the Readjustment Benefits account, Section 802 would require the VA to provide grant recipients an additional payment, subject to the availability of appropriations, such that the grant and supplemental payment total $22,484 in 2007, (more than doubling the existing benefit), and would increase that amount annually by a cost-of-living-adjustment.

    Special Monthly Pension (SMP) --

    The VA provides pension benefits for low income, totally disabled War Veterans whose Disabilities are unrelated to their service.

    Eligible Veterans who have more than one disability may receive a Higher Payment in the form of a SMP at the Aid and Attendence, (A&A), level or the lower Household level.

    As of 2001, low income War Veterans over age 65 are eligible to receive the Basic Pension Benefit without a Determination of Total Disability.

    The maximum annual pension rate for a Veteran with no dependents is $10,929.

    Similar rates for A&A and Housebound SMPs is $18,234 and $13,356 respectively.

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  • Categories: Military and Veterans Benefits, Pensions and Retirement Benefits

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