David Shulkin, the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, issued a letter on October 12, 2017 advising veterans service organizations that VA now opposes eliminating Individual Unemployability benefits for veterans over 60 years old. Despite a proposal when the Trump Administration’s budget was first floated this year that would have eliminated Unemployability – also called Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability, or TDIU – for seniors, the Secretary is trying to assure veterans groups that the administration no longer wants to take away Unemployability benefits from the most disabled and helpless of all veterans.
The Secretary’s October 12th letter was a response to inquiries that continue to come into VA offices asking about cuts to TDIU. The letter was widely reported in the military and veterans community, and appears to be a strong statement in support of senior veterans that have become disabled due to their military service-connected disabilities. Notably, the letter says that Secretary Shulkin was “writing to address VA’s current position on the TDIU program.”
Veterans should beware next year and years after for attempts to cut Individual Unemployability benefits for vulnerable senior citizens who can least afford a decrease in their benefits.