How the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 Affects Veterans
Category: Veterans Disability Law
Is the government going to shut down? Not yet. June was a political battleground as the politicians worked to strike a budget deal before the U.S. defaulted on its debt. Days before the deadline, Congress passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023.
While we can all take a deep breath, we’re not out of the woods. In this article, we explore the impact of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 on veterans’ benefits, both now and in the future.
So how did the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 prevent default?
Passed in early June, the legislation suspends the nation’s borrowing cap until January 2025. In other words, any debt growth beyond the ceiling becomes irrelevant during this period.
Impact of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 on Veterans?
Here’s the good news: Congress did not cut veterans’ health care and will increase spending in 2024 by $3 billion. And the legislation adds nearly $15 billion to the PACT Act’s toxic exposure fund.
Additionally, while new work requirements exist for certain adults receiving food snaps, veterans are exempt.
The bad news: right now the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 doesn’t seem to be a problem, but it could have a negative impact on veterans in 2024. There is a contingency in the bill that requires Congress to pass all 12 annual appropriation bills by January 1, 2024. Failure to do so would result in a 1% cut in discretionary spending until they pass.
Of course, this could impact veterans’ benefits, but it’s clear exactly how at this time. Not to mention, it only goes into effect if Congress fails to meet its deadline.
Lastly, non-defense agencies must prepare for a spending freeze in 2024 and only a small budget increase in 2025. Opponents of this provision argued that the spending freeze is the same as a budget cut with inflation. We will know the full impact of the spending freeze on veterans once the 2024 appropriation bills pass.
Will the Debt Ceiling Affect VA Disability Payments?
The answer is no. In 2023, the debt ceiling will not affect your disability payments. The same is true in 2024 since the borrowing cap isn’t active until 2025. But this applies only when we’re discussing delayed or missing payments.
Specific provisions in the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 could impact the cost of living adjustments, which data predicts will be much lower next year than this year.
The debt ceiling itself might not directly affect the disbursement of VA disability payments. The broader implications of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 and the potential government spending freeze could indirectly impact veterans.
Having a trusted legal team help you navigate veterans’ benefits now and in the future will ensure that you can receive the benefits you are entitled to regardless of the political climate.
2025 And Beyond: Why Are Government Shutdowns a Consistent Threat?
Government shutdown scares are becoming more frequent, sparking heated political debates about the devastating consequences of defaulting. Veterans, along with many others, are left hoping that Washington D.C. can find a compromise to prevent their lives from being turned upside down.
Why does this keep happening? The simple answer is the U.S. spends more money than the taxes it brings in, which isn’t a new concept. In fact, the Continental Congress issued loan certificates in 1776 to fight the American Revolutionary War. Not to mention all developed countries leverage debt in some way.
What makes the U.S. unique is the fact we have a self-prescribed debt ceiling, which is the limit when we can no longer issue bonds. We default if we have more expenses than income and can’t borrow to cover the gap.
The argument favoring this feature is that it prevents overspending. The argument against it is the U.S. could lose market confidence, and the interest for a treasury bond would skyrocket. Only one other country has a debt ceiling, and it’s Denmark, but theirs is so high they never approach default.
Although we’ve made it through another year, it’s certain that future debates about the debt ceiling will arise. This will require veterans and advocates to continuously make their case to ensure full funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
What Would Happen to Veterans if The U.S. Defaulted?
The easy answer is we don’t know because it’s never happened. However, we know it’d be difficult for millions of people, including veterans.
If the U.S. enters a fiscal crisis, decision-makers must determine what receives funding and what doesn’t. As a result, there could be delays or reductions in veterans’ benefits, including disability payments, pensions, and education benefits.
The Veterans Health Administration, which provides healthcare services to millions of veterans, could face funding shortages. This shortage could likely result in longer wait times, reduced services, and possible closures of VA healthcare facilities.
A default could lead to a broader economic downturn, increasing unemployment and making it harder for veterans to find jobs or maintain their living standards.
Luckily, everyone can only guess what would happen. Still, we all know it would be devastating based on how government shutdowns affected veterans.
Tuley Law Can Help You
Tuley Law Office is a distinguished law firm dedicated to serving those who have served our nation. With a deep understanding of veterans’ complexities and challenges, we are a reliable ally in the fight for your rights and benefits.
Between debt ceilings and thick bureaucracy, it can feel impossible to navigate the process of applying for and receiving disability benefits.
Our team of experienced attorneys demystifies this process, providing clear, concise guidance every step of the way. We ensure that you understand your rights, the benefits you are entitled to, and the process for securing those benefits.
If you’re struggling with the initial application process, facing a denial of benefits, or seeking to increase your disability rating, Tuley Law can guide you through the process.
Here are some of the ways our team can help you:
- VA benefits and compensation assistance
- VA disability rating and benefits guidance
- VA survivor benefits assistance
- Appeal or change VA disability rating
- Service-connected disability claims
- VA back pay claims
- Case evaluation
The VA system can be difficult to handle, but you don’t have to do it alone. With Tuley Law by your side, you have a dedicated team of professionals who understand the system and are committed to fighting for your rights.
Contact Tuley Law Office today, and let us help you navigate the path to the benefits you deserve.
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