Veterans may get another stimulus check in 2010
WASHINGTON — Millions of veterans could get another $250 stimulus check next year if President Barack Obama can convince lawmakers that the move is needed to help the economy.
The plan would follow the economic recovery checks sent out this spring to senior citizens, disabled workers and some veterans as part of the broader stimulus package.
Veterans and their survivors who are currently receiving disability compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, or pension payouts would qualify. Any veteran receiving Social Security benefits would also be eligible for the $250 check.
The plan would apply only to citizens living in the United States, Puerto Rico or Guam.
In a statement Wednesday night, Obama said the checks are designed to help "those hardest hit by the recession." An estimated 2 million veterans would be eligible for the payments, not including those among the 49 million Social Security beneficiaries who could receive checks.
Senior administration officials would not commit to when veterans will see the checks, noting that Congress still must draft and adopt legislation to authorize the payments.
But they believe lawmakers will be open to the idea, with one official noting that "the most important thing we can do to strengthen this economy is provide additional relief to those hardest hit."
Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said they will work with Obama on the proposal, with Pelosi saying in a statement that "providing another economic recovery payment is the right thing to do."
The announcement came just hours before the Social Security Administration announced it will not have a cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security recipients in 2010, the first time in 35 years without an increase.
White House officials said the drop in inflation rates negated the need for a Social Security COLA increase.
Another round of $250 checks would cost about $13 billion; Obama pledged that the money will not hurt Social Security, but offered no specifics on where the funding would come from.