Rounds, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Veterans’ Economic Security
Bipartisan reform amends current bankruptcy law to better support veterans and their families experiencing financial hardship
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today joined Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) to introduce the bipartisan Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need (HAVEN) Act (S. 679). This legislation would protect the economic security and well-being of veterans and their families who rely on disability benefits and may be experiencing financial hardship.
“The men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America make incredible sacrifices to protect and defend our freedoms,” said Rounds. “Following their service, they should not be forced to use their disability benefits to pay off bankruptcy creditors. Our legislation honors their service to our country by safeguarding veterans’ disability benefits.”
Under current bankruptcy law, disability benefits paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD) are included in the calculation of a debtor’s disposable income, increasing the portion of the debtor’s income that is subject to the reach of creditors. By contrast, bankruptcy law explicitly exempts Social Security disability benefits from this calculation. To remove this unequal treatment among various disability benefits, the HAVEN Act would exclude VA and DoD disability payments made to veterans or their dependent survivors from the monthly income calculation used for bankruptcy means tests.
The HAVEN Act complements recent congressional efforts to combat service member and veteran mental health issues, addiction, suicide, poverty and homelessness – all of which are exacerbated by financial hardship. It is supported by the American Bankruptcy Institute, American College of Bankruptcy, The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project, Association of the United States Army, Association of the United States Navy, Retired Enlisted Association, Society of Military Widows, Veterans for Common Sense and the U.S Army Warrant Officers Association.
In addition to Sen. Rounds, this legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).