Senate Approves Amendment Providing Full Benefits for Disabled Veterans
The Senate on Wednesday approved by voice vote an amendment to the fiscal year 2004 $400.5 billion defense authorization bill, which would allow disabled veterans to receive full retirement pay in addition to disability compensation, the Associated Press reports. Efforts to change the current system -- in which veterans with service-related disabilities eligible for both retirement and disability compensation receive reduced retirement benefits -- have been "an annual dispute between the Senate and the House," according to the Associated Press. The Senate has for four years voted to change the system; a compromise measure by Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and John Warner (R-Va.) would allow certain categories of veterans to receive full benefits (Guggenheim, Associated Press, 6/4). However, Reid on Wednesday said that all veterans with disabilities should be eligible to receive full compensation (Tetreault, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 6/5). Bush administration officials have threatened to veto the bill if the provision is included in the final version because its estimated cost of $58 billion over 10 years is "too expensive," the Associated Press reports (Associated Press, 6/4). A spokesperson for Reid said he hopes to negotiate further with the administration on the issue (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 6/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.