US Rep. Frank Guinta supports two bills expanding veterans' benefits

Our military veterans were there when our country needed them.  We must be there for them when they need us.”

(WASHINGTON –  May 23, 2011)   U.S. Representative Frank Guinta (R, NH-01) supported two important bills that would expand benefits for military veterans.  Both were passed by the House of Representatives on Monday evening.

H.R. 1407, the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2011, would increase the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans.  The dollar amounts would be increased by the same percentage (Cost-of-Living Adjustment, or COLA) applied to Social Security benefits.  The bill would also extend by five years the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA’s) authority to provide adaptive housing grants to veterans residing temporarily in housing owned by a family member.  This pilot program is set to expire on December 31, 2011; the bill would extend that authority to December 31, 2016.

H.R. 1383, the Restoring the GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011, would make the amount payable for programs of education at nonpublic institutions of higher education pursued by individuals enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) post-9/11 educational assistance program (post-9/11 program) during the period beginning on August 1, 2011, and ending on July 31, 2014, the greater of $17,500, or the established charges payable under a VA maximum payments table published on October 27, 2010.  The bill would also provide a limitation on the maximum monthly stipend payable under the post-9/11 program during the 24-month period beginning on August 1, 2011.

Guinta noted New Hampshire has a large per capita population of military veterans.

“Our military veterans were there when our country needed them,” he said.  “We must be there for them when they need us.  It is proper that their benefits get the same cost-of-living adjustment that Social Security recipients and many other retirees receive.  We should also assist our veterans in getting an education to help them transition into a post-military career.  I’m proud that these bills passed the House, and I hope they become law.”   

Both bills now go to the U.S. Senate for consideration there.