For the Veteran

Various information for Veterans different government programs available to assist Veterans in starting a business. Veterans benefits programs. This is not a political blog but we will speak our minds about current treatment of Veterans returning from the Gulf.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Reid Fights for Disabled Veterans

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Working to give
America's disabled veterans the full benefits they deserve, Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid today introduced The Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2007,
important legislation to allow veterans eligible for both disability
compensation and retirement pay to collect both at the same time -- also
known as "concurrent receipt." This issue has been a top priority of
Nevada's 250,000 veterans, as well as veterans across the country.
Introducing the bill on the Senate floor, Reid said, "The Retired Pay
Restoration Act of 2007 is important legislation because it ensures
veterans receive what they rightfully deserve and doesn't force them to
choose between disability compensation or retirement." Reid added, "Our
state is home to the third largest veterans' population in the nation. This
is an important issue for Nevada veterans and I'm happy I can give back to
the veterans that gave our country so much."
Reid is a champion in the fight for concurrent receipt. Year after
year, members of Congress have revisited the existing ban on concurrent
receipt as an injustice in compensation for veterans, but legislation
addressing the issue has died several years in a row. Meanwhile, disabled
veterans face the obstacle of forfeiting retirement pay dollar-for-dollar
if they receive disability compensation.
Sen. Reid has a long record of fighting for Concurrent Receipt on
behalf of America's veterans:
-- 2000: Reid introduced legislation to eliminate this unfair policy for
the first time. The Senate passed his legislation, but it was removed
by the House during conference.
-- 2001/2002: Reid reintroduced the legislation again during the 107th
Congress. It was once again adopted by the Senate, but removed in
conference.
-- 2003: Reid proposed legislation to allow disabled veterans with at
least a 50 percent disability rating to become eligible for full
concurrent receipt over a 10-year phase-in period. Despite veto threats
from the Bush administration, Congress passed this version.
-- 2004: Reid introduced and passed legislation to eliminate the 10-year
phase-in period for veterans with a 100 percent disability rating to
get concurrent receipt to the most severely disabled veterans.
-- 2005: Reid successfully eliminated the 10-year phase-in for those
veterans listed as "unemployable." The conference committee chose not
to enact this legislation for veterans rated as "unemployable" until
2009.
In addition to concurrent receipt, Reid has backed numerous veteran
initiatives, including the Combat-Related Special Compensation Act, an
increase in funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs and improved
veterans' health care across Nevada.
The text of Senator Reid's speech, as prepared, is below. The text of
the bill is attached to this release.
Mr. President, in the next few days, the Senate will begin an historic
debate about the war in Iraq -- a war that has demanded unparalleled
sacrifices from our men and women in uniform.
While we have our disagreements about the President's conduct of the
war, the 100 of us stand side by side in supporting our troops. They have
done everything asked of them, carrying their difficult mission with honor
and with skill. We as a country owe the brave men and women in our military
a debt of gratitude, and have a responsibility to ensure that our veterans
receive both the thanks of a grateful nation and the benefits they have
earned.
Sadly, right now, for too many disabled veterans in my home state of
Nevada and across this great nation, that is not the case. They've heard
the thanks, but have been robbed of their benefits. I refer specifically to
the thousands of men and women who have been denied their retirement
because of an unfair policy referred to as concurrent receipt.
By law, disabled veterans cannot collect disability pay and military
retirement pay at the same time. What does this mean? It means that for
every dollar of compensation a disabled veteran receives as a result of
their injuries, they must sacrifice a dollar of the retirement pay they
earned in the service of our nation. In many cases, this ban takes away a
veteran's full retirement pay, wiping away the benefits he or she earned in
20 or more years of service.
It's wrong.
Concurrent receipt is a special tax on the very men and women who keep
us safe. Few retired veterans can afford to live on their retirement pay
alone. Those burdened with a severe disability face an even greater
struggle, often denied any post-service working life. They receive
disability compensation to pay for the pain, suffering, and lost future
earnings caused by a service- connected illness or injury. No other federal
retiree is forced to make forfeit their retirement -- only our disabled
military retirees. This is not just an error, it is a disgrace.
Of course, concurrent receipt is not a new problem -- most everyone in
the Senate knows about it.
This is the seventh year that I have introduced legislation to give
disabled veterans the support they have earned, and I will continue
fighting until we succeed in ending this unacceptable policy.
We would never abandon a soldier on the battlefield, and we should not
abandon disabled veterans when they return home.
We are blessed in this country to be defended by an all-volunteer
military. These patriots put their lives and safety on the line because
they love this country.
It is time for this country and this Congress to repay their service
and their sacrifice, which is why I am introducing the "Retired Pay
Restoration Act of 2007".
CONTACT: Jim Manley or Rodell Mollineau of the Office of Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid, +1-202-224-2939



SOURCE Office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

1 Comments:

Anonymous vince said...

I'm a disabled military retiree, and I NEED this legislation to pass into law. I've been out of work since before 9-11, and the $389 (less tax) which this legislation would add to my account would be enough to greatly reduce the stuggles which my wife and I face when trying to pay bills.

Senator Reid did make one mistake: What we want is concurrent receipt, ie. to receive both the VA and military pension at the same time. What we have now is not concurrent receipt; we must choose to receive either one or the other. Other than that one mistake in terminology, everything which he read into the record is correct.

12:52 PM  

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