Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Monday, May 13th, 2019

Congressman Austin Scott (R-GA-08) released the below statements upon introducing two bipartisan bills aimed at better supporting disabled servicemembers and their ability to participate in the workforce.

The Purple Heart Disabled Veteran Earned Income Act of 2019 (H.R.2655):

Currently, combat disabled Purple Heart veterans who earn income in excess of $1,220 per month are at risk of losing 100% of their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for active engagement in the workforce. This unacceptably low threshold deters full workforce participation and disincentivizes disabled veterans from pursuing jobs, promotions, or working overtime. H.R.2655 would raise the current monthly disability benefit for disabled veterans and ensure these heroes do not lose their SSDI benefits in circumstances when earned income exceeds the current unacceptably low threshold.

“By simply raising the current level to the statutorily allowed level of $2,040 per month, disabled veterans would be able to maintain an acceptable level of support, while allowing an opportunity to maximize employment opportunities,” said Congressman Austin Scott. “Our combat disabled veterans sacrificed much in service to our nation. This legislation will allow them to continue to excel as valuable members of their communities and workforce, without being penalized for experiencing success.”

“Disabled veterans must have the ability to progress in their careers without fear of losing out on benefits they earned while serving our nation,” said Congressman John Garamendi. “I proudly stand with our combat wounded veterans and want to give them every chance to succeed in their new careers. The system we have now makes no sense, and I want to ensure veterans have the ability to start a new career without losing their crucial and hard earned benefits.”

“It is our nation’s responsibility to provide veterans with the care and benefits they have earned,” said Congressman Jimmy Panetta. “This bipartisan legislation will allow us to better support our nation’s combat disabled veterans and their ability to work and continue to contribute to our communities.”

“Our veterans, particularly those with combat-related disabilities, deserve our support,” said Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler.  “Those veterans who are able to actively contribute to the American workforce, shouldn’t be penalized for doing so. This common-sense bill supports those who have sacrificed so much for our nation by allowing them to continue to receive the Social Security benefits they are entitled to, while contributing to their communities and our economy.”

“Our veterans are the embodiment of the American spirit and taking care of them should never be a political issue. Any benefits received by our veterans are hard earned and shouldn’t be denied just because they receive a promotion or work overtime. Our veterans are not taught to aim low, and we shouldn’t have disability programs that incentivize them to do so,” said Congressman Rick Crawford.

Original cosponsors of H.R.2655 include U.S. Representatives John Garamendi (D-CA-03), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-04), and Rick Crawford (R-AR-01).

ABLE Accounts for Veterans Act of 2019 (H.R.2656):

In 2014, the Congress passed the ABLE Act, which allows states to create tax-advantaged savings programs for eligible people with disabilities. Funds from these tax-free 529A ABLE accounts help designated beneficiaries pay for qualifying disability expenses. H.R.2656 would allow service-connected disabled veterans to contribute earnings in excess of their disability threshold into an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account, without losing their disability benefits.

“Opening up ABLE accounts to service-connected disabled veterans will provide more flexible care and treatment options for service members and encourage them to continue striving towards their professional goals without fear of losing their benefits,” said Congressman Austin Scott.

“Creating ABLE accounts for disabled veterans is the right thing to do. No veteran should have to choose between advancing their career or qualifying for the benefits they need to get by,” said Congressman John Garamendi. “Sadly, that’s a choice many disabled veterans have to make today. H.R. 2656 will right this wrong by allowing disabled veterans who were injured in the line of duty to continue to contribute earnings beyond their disability threshold through an ABLE account. We want to our disabled veterans to be given every opportunity to excel in their new careers.”

Original cosponsors of H.R.2656 include U.S. Representatives John Garamendi (D-CA-03), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-04), and Rick Crawford (R-AR-01).