Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) today introduced legislation that will allow blinded veterans in Massachusetts to keep their entire pension from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA.)
Massachusetts offers a $2000 annual payment to permanently blind veterans, but the VA currently subtracts that annuity from their federal pension checks, denying blinded veterans their full and rightful benefits. Senator Kerry's Veteran's Pensions Protection Act will end that practice, providing veterans the full benefits they've earned.
"These veterans have given more for their country than most of us could ever imagine. It defies common sense and common decency to think that red tape would be allowed to deny them the benefits and care they've earned," said Sen. Kerry.
"The Blinded Veterans Association's entire membership appreciates Senator Kerry's strong interest and leadership on many veterans' issues, and especially his introduction of this legislation to have state annuities provided to disabled blind veterans being removed as income from veterans pensions," said Tom Zampieri, Director of Government Relations for the Blinded Veterans Association. "Currently four states provide small annuities to blinded veterans and for years they have been counted as income, instead of gift from those states that are grateful for the sacrifice that those blinded veterans have made for their country."
The Veterans pension is a benefit paid to wartime veterans that have limited to no income, and are either over 65, or are permanently and totally disabled. Similar annuities and pension reductions occur in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Those states offer $1101.28, $750, and $1800 to blinded veterans, respectively.