The Post chose the day after Veterans Day to announce its opposition to the movement by Congress -- a movement that enjoys the support of the president -- to elevate the Veterans Administration to a Cabinet-level department. The Post's editorial {Nov. 12} was inaccurate, inconsistent and insulting to our nation's veterans.

The Post holds that veterans' programs are "excessive." It must not have considered that the percentage of total federal outlays spent on veterans' benefits and services during the past fiscal year was 2.6 percent, as compared with 4.4 percent only 10 years ago. And for health care, the VA budget has not increased for more than 10 years when adjusted for inflation. In fact, outlays for VA health care as a percentage of total federal outlays for health declined from 11.4 percent in 1977 to 8.4 percent during 1987. Excessive? Hardly.

The Post's solution to curing the budget problem is to stop paying pension benefits to low-income, needy veterans. It would have them go to the county welfare office for help. It would deny these same veterans health care in VA hospitals and force them to turn to Medicaid and Medicare. We disagree.

Although The Post terms veterans' programs "excessive" and "disproportionate to either need or just claims for past service," it does allow that "the society has special obligations to those who have risked and fought for it." The Post makes the point that veterans who do not have service-connected problems are "piggybacking" on those who do. Who are these men and women? Non-service connected, you say?

Are we to exclude the hundreds of thousands who stormed the beaches of Normandy and Iwo Jima, who fought on Pork Chop Hill in Korea and who patrolled the rivers and jungles of Vietnam simply because they were fortunate enough to return home without physical evidence of their sacrifices? Did they not risk and fight for our society and thus deserve more than condemnation for "piggybacking"? We think so.

By The Post's own admission, Congress seeks only to elevate the Veterans Administration to a Cabinet-level department. There is no move to increase the federal bureaucracy, but simply a move to afford veterans the dignity and deference they deserve. Veterans have earned the right to have a voice in the president's Cabinet. Yes, America is No. 1, thanks to our veterans. G. V. (SONNY) MONTGOMERY U.S. Representative (D-Miss.) Chairman GERALD B. H. SOLOMON U.S. Representative (R-N.Y.) Ranking Minority Member Committee on Veterans' Affairs Washington