Filipino Veterans Benefit in Stimulus Bill

Bernie Becker, New York Times, Feb. 16, 2009

Filipino veterans of World War II, on a six-decade quest for benefits from the federal government, have found them in an unlikely place: the stimulus package that was passed on Friday.

Congressional supporters and the remaining veterans–about 18,000 out of some 250,000–lauded a $198 million provision that will give lump-sum payments of $15,000 to Filipino veterans who are American citizens and $9,000 to those who are noncitizens.

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Filipino veterans, who had been placed under American command during World War II, had expected to receive the same pensions and benefits as American soldiers once the war ended. Instead, the government granted benefits only to a small number of them.

Supporters of the provision, originally inserted by Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii, said that they did not expect the payments to do much to stimulate the economy, but that it was a way to bypass opponents who had blocked payments in the past.

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