Filipino Veterans Could Get Benefits Under New Bill
When it comes to veterans benefits, there’s not a lot of fairness. Everything should be equal when it comes to who gets what, but the truth is that there is a lot of discrimination in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
For example, there is racial discrimination. The Filipino veterans who fought with American troops during World War II never got the benefits they were promised, but a new bill called the Filipino Veterans Fairness Act hopes to change this. Numerous Filipino servicemen who were recruited by the United States in the early 1940s never got the benefits they were promised. The pledge was rescinded by Congress in 1946 due to budget concerns.
These 250,000 Filipino troops bravely fought in World War II. Under the command of the United States, they saved countless lives. It’s unacceptable that they were treated unfairly, but this bill hopes to change that.
The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Ed Case and Rep. James Moylan, would offer a need-based death pension to the remaining survivors. It would also expand the kinds of military documentation accepted to be eligible for benefits. The number of Filipino World War II veterans is now under 2,000, so it’s imperative that they get their benefits restored quickly.
Many Filipinos fought in World War II under U.S. command because a huge part of the war was fought in the Philippines after Japan invaded it. As many as 1 million Filipinos died in the war.
In 1990 President George H.W. Bush passed a law granting citizenship to Filipino nationals who fought in the war. In 2009, Barack Obama signed a law granting a lump sum of $15,000 to Filipino veterans who are American citizens and $9,000 to non-citizens. However, claiming these benefits has been nearly impossible due to the lack of proper documentation. It is difficult to find proper records of military service because the war itself demolished the buildings that would have had those records.
Passing a bill to get Filipino veterans the compensation they deserve, however, has been an uphill battle. Other minority veteran groups, like LGBTQ service members, have also struggled to receive financial benefits. On top of that, some lawmakers argue that the Filipino government is the one who should be providing benefits to these veterans.
The truth is that lawmakers never viewed Filipinos as being equals to the Americans. They were never viewed as citizens, making the fight even harder.
Learn More About Veterans Benefits
All veterans who risk their lives for their country should be compensated accordingly. Race should not make a difference.
A White Plains veterans disability benefits lawyer from The Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon can help you understand your rights to compensation. Call 914-294-2145 or fill out the online form to schedule a free consultation with our office.