SSI VETERANS BILL PASSED in WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE Becerra Amendment Includes New Scouts, June Vote Expected

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WASHINGTON DC, May 27, 1999 - In a pivotal bill unanimously passed yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee included thousands of eligible New Philippine Scouts in a provision that allows Filipino American World War II veterans on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to continue to receive 75 percent of their monthly SSI payments if they choose to reside in the Philippines.

The SSI provision would amount to a maximum of $380 per month (about 15,000 Pesos in the Philippines) per veteran. In the markup hearing of the approval of H.R. 1802, the "Foster Care Independence Act of 1999," the Ways and Means committee included the SSI rider, "Subtitle B, Sec. 251: Benefits for Filipino Veterans of World War II."

The committee also accepted the amendment of Rep. Xavier BECERRA (D-Los Angeles) that made a critical technical change to the official end date of World War II to December 31, 1946 to match the legal definition of durations of war service.

"We are relieved and delighted with the precise date," said Patrick GANIO, the president of the Washington DC-based advocacy group, the American Coalition for Filipino Veterans (ACFV). Our veterans are deeply grateful to Becerra for making the timely correction to our humanitarian bill," said Ganio, a 78-year-old former defender in Bataan and Corregidor.

"For our poor and desperate comrades, this law would mean being with their loved ones when they die. At the favorable peso exchange rate, they would continue to have a dignified income with the lower cost of living in the Philippines," Ganio added. …