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Statement on Signing the Veterans Compensation, Education, and Employment Amendments of 1982

October 14, 1982

Today I am very pleased to sign H.R. 6782, the ``Veterans Compensation, Education, and Employment Amendments of 1982.'' This bill will provide a 7.4 percent cost-of-living increase to some 2.3 million veterans with service-connected disabilities. It will also provide the same percentage increase to approximately 319,000 widows and children of veterans whose deaths were service-connected. These increases will be retroactive to October 1 of this year.

I am also happy to say that this legislation does not stop there. H.R. 6782 will benefit our veterans in other ways as well. The bill provides a higher compensation rate for certain blind veterans. It extends the period during which certain Vietnam-era veterans can continue vocational training. It makes a number of improvements in the Veterans Administration's insurance and burial benefits programs. And finally, it is aimed at strengthening the Department of Labor's programs to help veterans gain employment.

I am always gratified when administration proposals are passed by the Congress. But I am especially gratified that the 7.4-percent increase in benefits and the other provisions of this legislation have now become law.

This country owes a very special debt to those veterans who have sacrificed their lives for the defense of this nation and to all veterans who unselfishly served their country. This legislation demonstrates the Nation's continuing commitment and support for the men and women who have served in our military forces.

I want to commend Chairman Alan Simpson and Chairman Sonny Montgomery and the other members of the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees for their skillful and dedicated stewardship of this bill.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 6782 is Public Law 97 - 306, approved October 14.