Beach Bill Increasing Aid To Disabled Veterans Clears Committee

BY CHRIS DONNELLY - N.J. Senate Democrats - FEBRUARY 17, 2012

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Beach (D – Camden) that would increase the amount of aid given to blind and paralyzed veterans has cleared the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

“It has been years since there was any change in the amount these wounded veterans -- heroes actually -- have been given. That is unacceptable. With the property tax burden having increased 20 percent in the past two years, not to mention the expensive cost of living in New Jersey in general, our veterans need help. This legislation does the right thing and provides the increase in funding these veterans need and deserve,” said Beach, chair of the committee.

The bill, S390, would increase monthly payments made to veterans who have permanently lost their vision as a result of military service. The bill would also increase monthly payments to veterans with permanent paralysis and other described disabilities as a result of enemy action.

Currently, New Jersey pays an annual allowance to soldiers and veterans with certain wartime service-connected disabilities. A visually impaired veteran now receives $750 annually under the “Blind Veterans’ Allowance Program.” This amount, which has not changed since 1971, would be increased to $1,200 annually under this bill. Additionally, a veteran with certain other described disabilities also receives $750 annually under the Paraplegic and Hemiplegic Veterans’ Allowance Program. This amount, which has not changed since 1981, would also be increased to $1,200 annually.

The bill now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.