EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 14, 2012

N.H. veterans happy with benefit increase

Congressional approval for a 1.7 percent increase in benefits is pleasing New Hampshire veterans.

The cost of living adjustment means an estimated $500 for disabled veterans and their families.

“That’s good news for all veterans,” said Rick Bickerstaff, adjutant of Plaistow’s Carl G. Davis American Legion Post 34.

“That is great and something well appreciated,” said Nate Fernald, immediate past commander of Derry’s Lester W. Chase American Legion Post 9.

“Any kind of increase is always well received,” said Mark McCabe, commander of Pelham’s John H. Hargreaves Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10722. “Every little bit helps. The hope is people will manage their money.”

The Derry Legion post has nearly 300 members. The Plaistow Legion post has about 350. The Pelham VFW has more than 80.

There are more than 128,000 veterans in New Hampshire, according to the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., yesterday announced the Senate had approved the increase, following U.S. House approval earlier this year.

“In New Hampshire, veterans represent approximately 10 percent of the population and it is critical we provide them with the benefits and support that they have earned and deserved,” Shaheen said.

The cost of living adjustment mirrors the 2013 increase for Social Security.

Approval was delayed in the Senate when one Republican senator, who has not been identified, placed a hold on the bill in September, despite 369-0 approval in the House. The hold was subsequently lifted.

The executive director of the national VFW at the time blasted the action, saying it was “outrageous” that disabled veterans would be held hostage by politics.

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