Legislative Bulletin 7/6/17



Greetings DAV Members and Supporters:

I have received many inquiries regarding President Trump’s Budget Proposal, specifically two areas of concern are the permanent rounding down of Veteran’s benefits and eliminating 100% Individual Unemployability for Veterans who are receiving, or eligible, for Social Security Benefits.
I would like to highlight the IU (individual unemployability) issue. DAV National has come out against this reduction of Veterans benefits, which would disproportionately affect our Veterans of Social Security age. Many of these Veterans are now on a fixed income and would be negatively impacted by a sudden reduction in their benefits.

In response to such a drastic proposal, many Veterans/supporters have asked how they can effectively convey messages to their Representatives and Senator’s. I always recommend crafting a personal message to your elected officials, drawing on your experiences and/or concerns for the Veterans this would have such a negative effect on. Below are two suggestions on how you can start crafting that message:
Does this issue impact you, or a loved one, personally?

If the answer is yes, I recommend drawing heavily on personal experience.
 You can convey the negative impact this change would have on you, your family, etc…
 The circumstances leading to you being eligible for this benefit.
 The service to your country, in which you earned these benefits.
You are not currently receiving this benefit, but, oppose reduction in Veteran’s benefits
My analysis of this proposal boils down to reducing benefits for elderly Veterans to pay for other benefits for Veterans. This would be a potentially dangerous precedent to set, offsetting the cost of Veterans Choice by reducing benefits for Veterans, could set a precedence that negatively impacts the Veterans community as whole. This means there are no Veterans who should say, “I don’t get IU so this isn’t my fight”.
 You can come out strongly opposed to reductions in earned benefits to pay for Veterans Choice.
 Your letter/email/call can also be based on a defense of our Veterans who are utilizing this benefit.
General Advice on Contacting Your Elected Representatives
Below is some general advice on how to craft a message to your elected officials. These are just some
general pieces of advice, ultimately, do what you are comfortable with.
 Know who to contact, is this a state or federal issue? This is Federal issue so you want to contact
your member of the House of Representatives and your U.S. Senators.
 Stay on message! I highly recommend single issue lobbying. If you are calling, writing or meeting
about Veteran’s issues stick to those issues. Keep each issue separate.
 Keep the person you are speaking, corresponding or meeting with on topic. If they are
supporting something you are opposing they may try to redirect.
 Know your topic and do your research ahead of time. This is especially important in phone or in
person meetings.
 It is good to talk to a staff member. Don’t be insulted if they refer you to a staffer, in fact I advise
requesting a staff member over a specific member. In this case, you want to speak with their
Veteran Constituent Advocate or equivalent (If they don’t have one, ask why?).

You can find how to contact your elected officials at: http://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts/
I hope this helps get you started on crafting your message to defend the benefits our Veterans have
earned through their service to this country. I am happy to provide further assistance as needed. If you
do make contact please let me know, I like to track the actions our Veteran Advocates are taking. Any
question or concerns can be sent to: [email protected]

Trent C Dilks
Legislative Director

*As always, please feel free to forward this message to any who may be interested, all I ask is you keep
my contact information attached. I never trust something a person is unwilling to put their name on.*