Ron Chapple

Lifting the ban on 'concurrent receipt'

Legislation has been introduced in both houses of the 112th Congress that would allow qualified military retirees to receive both their VA disability compensation and DoD pensions at the same time. Called “concurrent receipt,” the dollar-for-dollar offset of military retirement pay based on the amount of VA medical disability compensation one receives has long been opposed by The American Legion.

Concurrent receipt of retirement pay and disability compensation has been expanded in recent years, but it still does not apply to military retirees with service-connected disabilities rated less than 50 percent. The continuing practice of requiring disabled retirees to fund their own pensions is commonly known as the “disabled veterans tax.”

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., introduced S. 344 on Feb. 14 to go along with a similar measure, H.R. 333, previously introduced in the House by Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga. H.R. 333 already has 97 cosponsors. Two other House bills also address lifting the ban on concurrent receipt.

Reid’s Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2011 was referred to the Senate Committee on Armed Services. It would allow the receipt of both military retired pay and veterans’ disability compensation with respect to any service-connected disability.

“Sen. Reid’s introduction of legislation to repeal the remaining vestiges of the disabled veterans tax continues a decades-long endeavor to reverse this injustice,” said Tim Tetz, Legislative Division director for The American Legion. “With passage of this bill by Congress, eligible veterans will never have to choose between payment for their service or the debt owed to them for their sacrifices.”