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We would call to your attention a letter from a veteran in Ohio.
In 1968, his pension was $84 per month.
In 1969, it was $81 per month, a $3 cut.
In 1971, it was $75 per month, a $6 cut.
In 1972, it was $78.96 per month, a $3.96 increase.
In 1973, it was reduced to $67.62, a cut of $11.34 per month.

Our organization has been pointing out that the erosion of the veterans pension is, and has been over the years, following a designed plan.

Each time the Congress authorizes an increase in social security benefits as a cost-of-living increase, the VA will not approve an increase in income limitations sufficient to protect the veterans pension. The only one they will approve is one they have figured out how a few thousand will be reduced from the pension roll.

If this erosion is not stopped, it will only take a few more years to wipe out the pension rolls, then the veteran will have to take his place on the welfare rolls with those who have made no contribution to this great country we cherish.

With this last increase in social security, the VA stated that only 20,000 would be terminated. We shall have to take the figure, as we have no way of knowing the exact number terminated. As for their other statement, that no one would lose any aggregate income, we have letters to prove that is not the case.

We are well aware that the VA is repeating the words of the Office of Management and Budget, who, like their forerunners of the Budget Bureau, are only interested in dollars, and not the human lives who suffer from the reduction of benefits.

They have told us that the average reduction in pensions was $7 per person. The letters we have received reveal how they arrive at that figure.

Of the 1,129,000 veterans and widows of World War I now receiving a pension, the majority of them, over 600,000, are widows, who draw smaller pensions than the veterans; therefore, their reduction was smaller.

The majority of veterans reductions run from $10 to $50. We estimate an average of in the high teens, as we cannot give a percentage, because we do not have the help to tabulate the thousands of letters to obtain one.

A large number list their total income and show how they will receive a net loss in 1973 from 1972.

These veterans and widows are faced with the statement released by the Agricultural Department, that family food prices rose $64 in 1972 over 1971.

Food is of great concern to those on pension; medicine is another problem for them.

Many letters state that their pension this year will not buy their medicine.

As for the other items, except rent, the cost of living index is of no consequence to them, for they have no money for recreation, vacations or other expenses they once had.

It is simply a matter of getting enough for existence.


A letter from one veteran, 78 years old, said, “At 78 years of age, maybe I can live on one meal a day."

We bring these appeals to you from World War I veterans, who are unemployable, and whose bodies are weakened by age and rigors of warfare they experienced in the service of their country.

We wish to call to your attention some more sample letters from the mass we have received to substantiate our statements.

We have copies of these letters, if you would like them submitted, I would be pleased to do so.

In case No. 1, a veteran who received a $29 increase in his railroad retirement received notice that his $65 per month pension was terminated. A net loss of $36 per month or $432 per year.

Case No. 2, an 81-year-old veteran who received a $35 increase in his social security payment and lost his $78 per month pension. A net loss of $43 per month, or $516 per year,

Case No. 3, an A. & A. case, whose increase in social security, with that of his wife, amounted to $69.60. His pension with A. & A. amounted to $170.60 per month and was terminated January 1, 1973. A net loss of $101 per month, or $1,212 per year.

I would like to state, Mr. Chairman, that we make no claim to the accuracy of these letters. We are merely reporting them to you as we have received them. Some of them we have investigated and had investigated, and will find some errors, but the point is brought out that they did not receive the 20-percent social security increase which the Congress enacted a law for, and they will receive less income in 1972-I mean in 1973, than they did in 1972.

I continue with the text, Mr. Chairman.

These letters reveal a desperate situation among these old veterans and widows of veterans, who are asking us to bring their situation to you.

We can deliver to you any number of these letters you may wish, 100, 1,000, or 10,000—a briefcase full, or boxes filled in a pickup truck.

Widows are asking us why? They had pride in being the wife of a veteran and now a widow, who, if she has the necessities of life, must surrender her pride she has held to and turn to welfare for the bare necessities.

Veterans by the thousands have told us in their letters that they have been forsaken by their Government in their old age.

From a study of the letters we have received, we feel that an increase of $600 in income limitations per year will be necessary to enable a greater portion of these veterans to have the same income they received last year. It will not cover them all; the only way to restore them to their last year's family income would be to waive the social security or railroad retirement increase as accountable for pension purposes.

As we look at the rich heritage of this Nation, President Abraham Lincoln, standing at the halfway point in our history, said, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan," realized the source of our strength.

To abandon this principle, and adopt an alien conception of Government, antiveteran, as some of our social planners are seeking to do, would be one sure way to lead to the downfall of this Nation.

The Veterans of World War I, U.S.A., Inc., are concerned with veterans benefits for the veterans of all wars; however, our primary concern is for the Veterans of World War I, whose average age is now 78.1 years.

As has been done in previous years, a resolution was passed at our last national convention, mandating us to ask for special consideration for the Veterans of World War I.

We would remind you, Mr. Chairman, of this appeal we have made down through the years.

In each session of the Congress, a number of bills are introduced calling for special consideration for this group of veterans, and, to this date, no action has been taken on them.

Special legislation has been enacted for all other groups of veterans.

These veterans become more disillusioned as they become older and their numbers become smaller.

They have lived to witness this Government provide funds to subsidize foreign governments with billions of dollars.

They have lived to witness funds being appropriated to subsidize aliens entering this country, while they were denied compensation or pension large enough to meet their basic needs.

They have lived to see our Government go top heavy on welfare. They are not callous in their sympathy for deserving individuals or families receiving welfare.

They have become personally involved, and used their influence throughout their lives in aiding those in need. They now witness and read of exorbitant amounts of welfare payments going to undeserving individuals and families, including hotel bills, rent subsidies, including a free trip to Puerto Rico.

This was reported in the Sunday Herald, Norwalk, Conn., February 4, 1973, for recipients who have made no contribution to the development of this Nation.

At the same time they have endured the embarrassment of privation, holding onto their pride, this group of American veterans, the Veterans of World War I, are endowed with and held onto the principle that if one did not work, one did not eat, and during their years of physical ability, they followed this concept.

Now they see cases where from one to four generations have no other expectancy than public welfare.

We are only making this comparison of welfare versus World War I veterans to bring into focus the neglect of the veterans compared with other segments of our society today.

The Veterans of World War I are not asking for legislation awarding them any preferential treatment to the veterans of any other war. They are only asking that they receive fair and just treatment with the veterans of other wars.

We would remind the members of this distinguished committee that the Veterans of World War I did not receive anything comparable to the GI bill of World War II and subsequent wars.

They did not receive a service pension like the veterans of wars previous to World War I, from the Revolutionary War through the Spanish-American War.

In the annals of American history only the Veterans of World War I have been so isolated for discrimination. Their only recognition was the awarding of adjusted service compensation certificates, purported to compensate for a pay raise due them during their active service. This consisted of $1 per day for stateside, and $1.25 per day for overseas, which they did not receive, amounting to an average of $546, labeled a "bonus.” World War I veterans have resented this label ever

a since.

In each session of the Congress, a number of bills have been introduced to correct this injustice, though none have been considered.

It is to be hoped that this Congress will have the courage to pay a "debt" long overdue and enact some special consideration for this group of veterans.

I have asked this to be submitted in the record, and inasmuch as we testified on national cemeteries yesterday, I will omit that part of the chapter.

Amandate from our national convention commits us to work for the restoration of Veterans Day-Armistice Day—to November 11 and Memorial Day to May 30.

These holidays have historical significance in our Nation, whereas the days now prescribed by law have no meaning and are not observed by the majority of our people.

The prescribed days only provide another day for leisure, thereby forcing those who went to observe Veterans Day or Memorial Day to take time off from their work to observe one which has some meaning to them and to the Nation.

May I add to that statement that our organization, by action, has voted to continue and do continue to observe November the 11th as Veterans Day and May 30 as Memorial Day.

And in the towns that we receive reports from, they have had good attendance both from World War I veterans, World War II veterans, Korean veterans, and now being joined by veterans of Vietnam, because November the 11th has been implanted into the consciousness of America as the day to remember in observance for veterans.

And we hope that the Congress at this 93d Congress will take some action.

We have been notified that 11 States now have restored these dates to their original dates, which is what we are working toward.

We consider it a privilege, Mr. Chairman, to have had the opportunity to appear before this distinguished committee and present the program of the Veterans of World War I, expressing the views on matters mandated to us by our last national convention.

We thank you.

Mr. HALEY. Thank you very much for a very fine statement presented on behalf of us old veterans of World War I. I hope that the Congress will take some action to more or less redress some of the oversights, let us say, insofar as World War I veterans are concerned.

Chairman Dorn. The gentleman from California? Mr. EDWARDS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to say amen to what the chairman just said. And I am sure that the Veterans Affairs Committee will review your testimony with great respect and thanks for a very great contribution to the work of the committee.

Chairman Dorn. Mr. Wylie?
Mr. WYLIE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I, too, appreciate your being here today and giving us of this excellent statement which shows considerable thought and very careful consideration on your part.

You may rest assured that I, as one member of this committee, will give it very careful consideration on my part. I want to apologize for my Republican colleagues, because there is only one other minority member here.

There are other committees meeting, especially at this time of the year, all over the place. The Banking and Currency Committee of which I am a member started yesterday morning, at 9:30, and we went straight through until 8:30 last night, trying to get an economic stabilization bill out.

I know that is being repeated as far as the other members of this committee are concerned. It is not that there is a lack of interest or concern for our problems. I am sure that you are aware of that.

Colonel HOUSTON. We are.

Mr. WYLIE. It is just the fact that there is a multiplicity of things to do. I left my office at 12:20 this morning just trying to catch up on telephone calls. I woke one fellow up at midnight. He wondered what I was doing. I said, I am returning your call.

Well, we are all, I think, on the committee for national cemeteries bill. We passed it out of this committee, and for the national holidays which you have suggested. It seems ludicrous to me that we are now designating the fourth Monday of the month, in October, as Veterans Dav.

This has no special significance or meaning. This year it is on October 22, and next year it will be on some other date. The Armistice which was celebrated, first as Veterans Day, and Armistice Day, was signed on the 11th month, 11th hour, and lith day. That had meaning and significance.

I, like you, would like to get back to that day which had such great significance

in our history. I hope that you will submit for the record, the letters, I guess that has already been done, hasn't it, the letters to which you referred ?

Colonel Houston. I will hand them to the reporter, now. [The letters follow:]


DEAR SIR: I have been notified that my 65 dollar a month would be cut off starting Jan. 1st, 1973. Due to 29.00 R.R. Ret. I belong to Barracks 0053, Portland, Oregon. 104736.

MARCEL A. VUYLSTELNE, 3266 S.E. Grant St., Portland, Oreg.

IRVINGTON, N.J. DEAR MR. HOUSTON : Recently the House Veterans Affairs Committee shelved S. 3070 which had been passed by the Senate. As a result my father, W.W. I veteran, age 81, and a widower, will suffer a net loss in income during 1973.

The 20% increase in Social Security made him ineligible for his veterans pension and he has been so notified. He gained $35 per month from S.S. and lost his $78 per month veterans pension—net loss $43 per month.

I think any World War I veteran deserves better than this, don't you? My father belongs to Barracks No. 90. Very truly yours,

GEORGE G. WHEELER, (the Veteran).

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