Disabled military retirees deserve better

Some things just seem simple to me. Common sense. If you work hard, you realize the benefits. If you break the law, you suffer the consequences. If you drive through a stoplight, you can't act surprised when another car slams into yours.

And if you make a career of the military, and get injured in the process, you should be awarded full retirement pay and appropriate disability compensation. It shouldn't be one or the other. The military pension is a benefit you earned by doing a job well for a long time. VA disability compensation is provided to those whose ability to work is compromised due to military service. Some progress has been made to lift the ban on concurrent receipt - also known as the "disabled veterans tax" - which forces military retirees to pay for their own pensions with a dollar-for-dollar offset from their disability compensation.

Tell me how it makes sense that you should lose your pension because you got hurt? These men and women chose to make the military a career; they didn't choose to suffer an injury. In the private sector, a vested employee does not forfeit his or her pension when an injury causes him or her to go on disability.

Efforts to correct this discrepancy were on track after Jan. 1, 2004, when concurrent receipt of DoD retirement pay and VA disability was allowed for certain types of veterans. The plan was to incrementally phase in full concurrent receipt for all qualified military retirees over a 10‑year span, to be completed by Dec. 31, 2013. To be fair, this benefit must apply to all disabled military retirees, not just those who were wounded in combat or those with the highest disability ratings.

The recently introduced Retired Pay Restoration Act would permit additional service-connected military retirees to receive both their VA disability compensation and either retired pay - by reason of their years of military service - or Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC). It also eliminates the current phase-in period.

The Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act would amend Title 10, U.S. Code, to permit service-connected military retirees rated at less than 50 percent to receive concurrent payment of both retired pay and VA disability compensation. It also eliminates the phase-in period and extends eligibility for concurrent receipt and CRSC to Chapter 61 disability retirees with less than 20 years of service.

The American Legion supports both bills and urges members to seek co-sponsorship from their congressional representatives.

A disability rating - whether 30 percent or 60 percent - represents a life-changing condition. That's why it is called a disability. A military career that justifies a pension on the basis of years served is an accomplishment our nation should honor and reward. They are separate issues, funded by separate budgets. The only reason the ban hasn't been lifted for all who are eligible is that the government would simply rather use the money for other purposes. And that's not good enough.




  1. I read on the house Armed Services Committee website that chapter 61 veterans will not be getting concurrent military retirement and V.A. disability benefits. They say there is less than 2 percent chance of it passing. we were suppose to be getting this on january 1, 2016 if it did pass, but harry reid left all of this hanging, so we are not going to get it. I think that the armed services committee should just write a statment telling us all this, instead of stringing people along and making them think they are going to get this. I'ts not going to pass, and they said so themselves. So just let us all know this already.

  2. I don't see where there is any difference in a soldier getting combat related special compensation, and disability from the V.A. at the same time, while they only did two or three years of military service, and many of them didn't even see combat, but were injured in combat related environments. The government doesn't see this as double dipping, and it has nothing to do with retirement pay at all. It is getting disability from the military and from the V.A. at the same time. Yet, I did over a dozen years of military service, and I was medically retired, and I had to forfeit my military medical retirement pay for V.A. pay which was more. Yet, my medical retirement pay was for time served in the military-not for injuries received. But, I can't have both like everyone else, because I didn't do 20 years. Yet, a veteran that only did 2-3 years of military service are getting disability pay from both the military and the V.A. by way of combat related special compensation-but the government tells me and other chapter 61 veterans who they retired with less than 20 years that we are double dipping. Then they wonder why we all have a hard time being patriotic, and having respect for them. We are getting screwed all the way around, yet we are suppose to stand tall and proud, and be super patriotic while we are all getting it in the rear.

  3. I'm a disabled military veteran. I served my country honorable, and never was busted or anything like that. I gave 110% to this nation, and in return the government spits in my eye, and just refuses to allow me to have the retired pay I have rightfully earned, because it is less than 20 years. This is not double dipping, and they know it. I'm already messed up for life, so having fun with it would not be in the equation. Many chapter 61 veterans have been reduced to begging for the retired pay that they have also earned, just so they can supplement the shilling percentage ratings that they also get from the V.A.
    I don't think the Retirement Pay Restoration Act is ever going to pass, because it has been sitting with no action since August of 2015, and it is now April of 2016. Instead of our government and nation being grateful for our keeping them safe, and getting wounded or made mentally ill in the process, we all get spit in the eye, and are told to just stop whining. I GIVE UP, BECAUSE IT IS JUST HOPELESS.

  4. I have been retired since 1978 with "ONLY" a 40% service related disability for health reasons. For 33 years I've been losing a good part of my earned military retirement. All I get from my Congressmen, of both parties, is "We know there is a problem and we are trying to get it corrected." For 33 years???
    I'll be long dead before anything is done to assist retired veterans, and what happens to all of those lost earnings for retired pay? I guess Congress gets to keep all of it after all. Right?

  5. The goverment says it can not pay veterns for their disabilities but it still sends us to war. So they need to find a way to pay for them.

    During the civl war people payed people to go to war for them. So why not have a non military participation tax. Anyone who has not served or is not medically able to serve, must pay a tax. These tax dollars can only be used for VA care & disability payments to veterans.

  6. Thru more research found that the bill was sent to the house sub-committie on disability assistance and memorial affairs . Everyone one needs to contact the house committie on veteran affairs LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD !!!!!

  7. I am genuinely concerned that the "voucher" program recently passed by the House will affect veterans negatively. Will Tricare be changed to be a voucher system so that we end up paying the difference between that and commercial insurance? If Tricare is already costing the taxpayers billions, how much more will it cost if it supplements private insurance which will probably provide less coverage? I fear that if this voucher system is established, Tricare and all veteran benefits will take a major hit. The writing is on the wall.

  8. "A disability rating - whether 30 percent or 60 percent - represents a life-changing condition. That's why it is called a disability. A military career that justifies a pension on the basis of years served is an accomplishment our nation should honor and reward. They are separate issues, funded by separate budgets. The only reason the ban hasn't been lifted for all who are eligible is that the government would simply rather use the money for other purposes. And that's not good enough."


    Thank you, Comrade Commander for your efforts on this issue. I did my part and contacted my Senators and Representative. I got a polite robot generated reply from one Senator's office and the standard (what I call, the too busy to bother reply) robot generated genaric reply from the other two people's offices. None of these were satisfactory. Now What? - Robert Ireland - Post 174 (PUFL)

  9. My new congressman Womach is a retired Colonel. He responded to me on this subject saying there is better use of the money for the V.A. and/or military. This should be a separate funding issue.

    This is typical of our politicians (both sides). My former Congressman (Sen. Boozman-R) and former Sen. Lincoln BOTH said the same thing. It gets tucked into other bills and those bills don't pass.

    I've been fighting for 5 years. Talk about making your health worse. If any of you wants to put a bullet into a bureaucrats butt, tell your lawyer to get me on your jury. I'll hang that jury for you.

    Damn but warming officers.

    Jim - 5th S.F. retired

  10. VA response time is worse then getting a Bill passed through Congress. We all agreed to serve suffered various injures sometimes the same other different. Almost no one with a unheard of injury or disability.
    How long should one patience what to have a service connected injury validated by VA. By the way I particapted in the Before Discharge Delivery program offered by the DAV. Prior to my discharge the goal was 60 days and the VA should have a answer. Call VA today and you hear there is a delay due to backlog of blah blah. After all my service including injuries sustain on Active duty. Service in Combat? Lost soldiers,friends
    and comrades? How long should we wait? Currently 7 months and counting

  11. Veteran's, Are YOU Tired of Being Swept under the Carpet, so to speak ? I am and I'm NOT Disabled or even Service Connected.
    Just a Plain, Middle-Aged, Red-Blooded, ALL American Conservative, Caucasian Male, with 3 Honorable Discharges stemmed across 12 years of Service, during 4 Conflict Eligibility Periods. ALL of My Body Parts still function, especially the Trigger Finger, in which I tend to Think with, lately. Thanks to a Democratic Controlled One-Party Rule for 2 years. They Broke me and I DO NOT like it!

  12. These bills still do nothing for the disabled veterans like me that are denied over and over because the VA failed to do its job at protecting our records, and now those of us that they missed place lost or allowed to be destroyed because they failed to upgrade or do the things that needed to be done to protect our records is cost hundred of thousands of disabled veterans like my self to life below the poverty level and to the point of being homeless for themselves and their families.

    When is the American Legion and the others going to stand up for us and get bills in the house that say because the VA and the government failed to protect the records then we should be entitled to our disability as well.

  13. Checked and the H.R. 333: Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act never got out of committee. Google the subject and look at the govtraack.us entry. This will give information on this bill. The last action on this bill was on Mar 2, 2007 by House Veterans' Affairs.
    Perhaps a write your Congressman Campaign might be in order. Perhaps this can be brought up in the DAV and VFW who have members who are affected by this legislation and would participate in a write your Congressman Campaign.
    For me I already bought a packet of stamps and a box of envelopes.

  14. I have reached the point of surrender.I know in my heart that none of the bills currently pending in reguards to concurrent recipet will pass.To much time has passed and there is not enough support for the bills to pass .I was in the process of trying to have the VA adjust my rating ,not so much for the money but more so that i could recive treatment for the depression that has been constant since having the stroke .However i know that this will not happen , i am tired of fighting the fight . I will live in this dark world called depression untill ? The pain is overwhelming

  15. As one of the many vets that fall into this bracket ,its nice to know that this topic is still on the front burner .The question is will the congress and senate do the right thing and pass the bill, or will they try to pass it along / bury it will another bill that has no chance of passing ? how long have we been waiting for this bill to pass ?. use the money for other purposes ?

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