State Legislators Honored for Protecting Veterans' Benefit

Jul 18, 2011, 16:14 ET from American Legion Department of Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS, July 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two members of the Indiana General Assembly were honored by The American Legion Department of Indiana July 16 for their efforts in preserving the long-standing Indiana veterans benefit known as Fee Remission for Children of Disabled Veterans.

Tom Dermody (R-20th ) and Milo Smith (R-59th ) were credited with championing a compromise which barred the legislature from restricting the benefit for current service personnel. Rep. Dermody and Smith received their awards on the convention in Indianapolis.

According the American Legion Department Adjutant Stephen W. Short, Dermody and Smith were "instrumental in preventing the benefit from being so reduced as to be meaningless for most disabled veterans' children – an 'obscenity, eliminating a veterans' benefit during time of war.'"

Under the agreement reached with the Legion and other veterans service organizations, the long standing benefit will remain unchanged for veterans currently on active duty. Those entering military service after July 31, 2011, however, will receive similar, but reduced, benefits based on the percentage of disability as rated by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

For example, the children of a veteran with a 20 percent disability rating will receive remission of 40 percent of all fees. The remission rate is determined by adding the percent of disability rating to 20 percent, the minimum. Veterans rated 80 percent disabled or higher will continue to receive 100 percent fee remission.

Although the changes were due to take effect on July 1, 2011, a grace period of one year has been allowed.  The new provision included in the legislation, which will now not take effect until midnight on June 30, 2012 include:

  • Applicants will be allowed to take undergraduate courses only.
  • Applicants will have a total of eight years in the program.
  • Applicants must not have reached age 32.  
  • Disabled wartime-era parents of applicants must have joined the service from Indiana or must have resided in Indiana at least five years before the application.
  • Applicants who are not biological children of the veteran must have been adopted by the veteran parent before they were eighteen years of age.

SOURCE American Legion Department of Indiana