Clinton signs bill giving vets more benefits

Veterans will get more educational help and disability pay under a bill signed into law Wednesday by President Clinton.

The 2000 Veterans Benefits and Health Care Improvement Act, S. 1402, increases education benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill to $650 a month for three years of service, a $122 increase, and to $528 a month for two years of service, a $99 increase. The new rates represent the largest benefit increase in the history of the GI Bill, Clinton said.

The bill also increases educational allowances for veterans' survivors and dependents.

The legislation includes a cost-of-living increase beginning in December for veterans with service-connected disabilities. The increase, to be determined in late November, will match the increase given to Social Security recipients. Survivors and dependents of disabled veterans will benefit from the cost-of-living adjustment as well.

Other provisions in the legislation will:

  • Extend monthly disability allowances, vocational training and health care to the children of female Vietnam War veterans who were born with certain medical conditions.
  • Enhance benefits for Filipino veterans of World War II who receive disability compensation and burial benefits at a rate equal to one-half the rate that U.S. veterans receive. The act also makes Filipino veterans eligible for burial in national cemeteries.

"These benefits are just a few examples of the effects that this comprehensive bill will have on improving benefits and services for our veterans," said Clinton in a statement released Wednesday.

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