MORRIS COUNTY — Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce’s bill to increase annual payments to blind and other wartime-service disabled veterans unanimously passed the full Assembly on Monday.
Under the bill (A2559), service members in programs for blind and paralyzed veterans would receive an annual assistance increase to $1,800 from $750.
“The amount given to disabled veterans through these programs has not changed in 40 to 50 years. They earned these annual payments by sacrificing life and limb in selfless service to our country. This increase recognizes their lives were forever changed during the war,” DeCroce (R-Morris) said.
Veterans, who sustained a total loss of sight, are permanently paralyzed in a part of their body, lost a limb through amputation, disease, or an accident as a result of service, and their surviving spouses, are currently entitled to an annual sum of $750, which is paid out monthly.
“Now is an especially appropriate time to pass this bill as consumers face rising costs of food, gas, and everyday goods,” DeCroce said. “It is a small way to extend our gratitude to service members and helps them make ends meet.”
As of March 2021, there were 185 blind and otherwise disabled veterans receiving an allowance under the Blind Veterans’ Allowance Program and the Paraplegic and Hemiplegic Veterans’ Allowance Program. Some veterans may be eligible for both allowance payments.
The last increase for blind veterans was in 1971. The payment under the program for paralyzed veterans has not changed since 1981.