PARSIPPANY — In advance of Veterans Day, Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce’s measure to increase annual payments to blind and other wartime-service disabled veterans was unanimously approved by the Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs Committee Monday.
Under the bill (A2559), service members in programs for blind and paralyzed veterans would receive an annual assistance increase to $1,800 from $750.
“The amount given to disabled veterans through these programs has not changed in 40 to 50 years. They earned these annual payments by sacrificing life and limb in selfless service to our country. This is a reasonable increase that recognizes their lives were forever changed during the war,” DeCroce (R-Morris) said. “Given the upcoming holiday to honor our nation’s veterans, it is an especially important time to pass this bill. It is a simple way to extend our gratitude.”
Veterans, who sustained a total loss of sight, are permanently paralyzed in a part of their body, lost a limb through amputation, disease, or an accident as a result of service, and their surviving spouses, are currently entitled to an annual sum of $750, which is paid out monthly.
As of July 2018, there were 206 blind and otherwise disabled veterans receiving an allowance under one of the programs, or in the case of five veterans, both. The last increase for the Blind Veterans’ Allowance Program was in 1971. The payment under the Paraplegic and Hemiplegic Veterans’ Allowance Program has not changed since 1981.