Statement on Signing the Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 1984

October 24, 1984

I am pleased today to sign into law H.R. 5688, a bill that will increase certain benefits paid to veterans and make other improvements in veterans' programs.

Our nation provides compensation and other monetary benefits to service-disabled veterans and dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) benefits to the survivors of those who died for our country. The administration has recommended increases in these monetary benefits each year so they will keep up with changes in the cost of living. The ``Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 1984,'' which I am approving today, provides a 3.2-percent increase in compensation and DIC benefits effective December 1, 1984.

The bill before me also responds to the administration's recommendation for increases in GI bill educational benefits, which will help Vietnam-era veterans taking advantage of this opportunity, and other recommendations for needed increases in veterans' benefits.

Further, I am pleased to endorse the extension in the bill of the Federal Government's authority to make veterans' readjustment appointments (VRA's) to the civil service. The VRA authority helps service-disabled veterans obtain employment in the Federal Government.

This legislation requires the Veterans Administration to carry out two trial programs. Over a 4-year period the Veterans Administration will test whether vocational rehabilitation training and other techniques can be useful in expanding the employment prospects of certain disabled veterans considered to be unemployable. One trial program would cover certain service-disabled veterans and the other certain pensioners. The objectives of these programs are praiseworthy.

Programs for veterans are among the most important Federal responsibilities. I am therefore delighted to approve this bill.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 5688 is Public Law 98 - 543, approved October 24.