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Public Papers - 1992

Statement on Signing the Veterans Benefits Act of 1992

1992-10-29

Today I am signing into law H.R. 5008, the ``Veterans Benefits Act of 1992.'' This bill, which is a landmark in veterans' legislation, reflects America's continuing recognition of the invaluable contributions that veterans and their families have made to our Nation. It includes a major reform of the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) program and significant improvements in a variety of other veterans' benefits.

H.R. 5008 brings a new measure of fairness to the DIC program, which provides benefits to the surviving spouses and children of those who die in service or whose deaths after service are related to their service-connected disabilities. Under current law, DIC benefits are based on military rank and length of service. As a result, survivors who have experienced the same misfortune -- a service-connected death -- receive widely differing payments.

H.R. 5008 replaces this inequitable system with one in which surviving spouses receive the same basic monthly payment of 0. This is 4 more than the current minimum DIC payment. Recognizing the effect that total disability can have on a family's income, the bill provides an additional 5 per month to families of certain service-disabled veterans. For families with children, the current per child benefit is increased, almost tripling by fiscal year 1995.

Education benefits available under the Montgomery GI Bill also increase under H.R. 5008. Our Nation has a proud tradition of assisting veterans in the smooth transition from military to civilian life through educational and training assistance. Indeed, the GI Bill programs have been widely acclaimed as the best investment America has made. These programs have promoted quality education for our country's veterans, providing them the opportunity to be the best that they can be. This Nation remains committed to these programs.

I am also gratified that H.R. 5008 benefits our veterans in many other ways. It improves the Department of Veterans Affairs programs of educational assistance, vocational rehabilitation and training, and insurance. In addition, H.R. 5008 restores eligibility for Veterans Readjustment Appointments with the Federal Government to all Vietnam-era veterans through December 31, 1995.

I have often said that we must remember a statement made by President Kennedy: ``A nation reveals itself not only by the men and women it produces, but by the men and women it remembers.'' On behalf of the American people, I am proud to sign this bill that expresses our Nation's gratitude and continuing commitment to our veterans and their families.

George Bush

The White House,

October 29, 1992.

Note: H.R. 5008, approved October 29, was assigned Public Law No. 102 - 568. This statement was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on October 30.

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