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
-- 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
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
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

Monday, January 29, 2007

Increase in VA housing for Veterans

VA is increasing the benefits of Veterans to allow the purchase of Coop properties.

This is great for Veterans located in the cities.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Thousands protest in Washington

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 — Tens of thousands of protesters converged on the National Mall on Saturday to oppose President Bush’s plan for a troop increase in Iraq in what organizers hoped would be one of the largest shows of antiwar sentiment in the nation’s capital since the war began.

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Michael Christopher Brown for The New York Times
Carlos Arredondo with a memorial to his son, Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo of the Marines.
The event drew demonstrators from across the country, and many said that in addition to taking their discontent to the streets they planned to press members of Congress to oppose the war.

“When we voted it was a directive to bring our troops home now,” said the Rev. Graylan S. Hagler of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, referring to the November elections when Democrats won control of Congress.

Demonstrators listened to speeches from a roster of politicians and entertainment figures including the Rev. Jesse Jackson; Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, Democrat of Ohio and a candidate for the presidency in 2008; and Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California. The actors Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins also addressed the crowd.

“We need to be talking not just about defunding the war but also about funding the vets,” Ms. Sarandon said, adding that more than 50,000 had sought treatment through the Department of Veterans Affairs while benefits for them continue to be cut.

With Mr. Bush facing low approval ratings and Congress continuing to debate the terms of a nonbinding resolution opposing the troop increase, elderly people in wheelchairs, housewives pushing strollers, seasoned dissenters in tie-dye and veterans in uniform turned out to protest.

“I grew up during the Vietnam War, but I never protested it and never had my lottery number called to go fight,” said David Quinly, a 54-year-old carpenter from Prairie Village, Kan., who arrived here Friday night with about 50 others after a 23-hour bus ride.

“In my view, this one is a war of choice and a war for profit against a culture and people we don’t understand,” Mr. Quinly said. “I knew I had to speak up this time.”

Along the north side of the Mall, teenagers in T-shirts featuring sinister depictions of Mr. Bush chanted, “End the lunacy; end it now.” A man wearing prison stripes carried a sign with the likeness of Vice President Dick Cheney. A man on 30-inch stilts, dressed as Abraham Lincoln, carried a sign quoting him: “But you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” A tall, clear plastic column stood overflowing with thousands of shoes symbolizing the civilians killed in the war.

“I’ve got a son who just got out of the military and another still in,” said Jackie Smith, 65, from Sunapee, N.H., whose sign read “Bush Bin Lyin.” “And I’m here because this is all I can do to try to help them.”

Tassi McKee, from Bastrop, La., who said she was a staff sergeant in the Air Force, was among a small contingent of about 20 active-duty service members who turned out. “I believe this has become a civil war, and we are being hurt and making matters worse by staying in the middle of it,” Sergeant McKee said.

She said that it was not illegal for active-duty members to attend protests but that it was strongly discouraged.

Veterans were more numerous among the crowd.

Dressed in the olive green, military-issued flight jacket that he said he wore during the invasion of Iraq while serving as a Marine sergeant, Jack Teller, 26, said he joined a caravan from Greenville, N.C., because he felt that it was his duty.

“I don’t like wearing the jacket because it reminds me that I participated in an immoral and illegal war,” said Mr. Teller, who had “Iraq Veterans Against the War” stenciled on the back of his jacket. “But it’s important to make a political statement.”

Fernando Braga, a 24-year-old Bronx native who is a member of the Army National Guard, said that he was skeptical of the war before it started. Mr. Braga said his views hardened into opposition while he served in Iraq from March 2004 through January 2005.

“My own commander told us when we arrived that if we thought we were there for any reason other than oil then we had another think coming,” he said. “I realized even commanding officers were against it but following orders.”

Michael McPhearson, executive director of Veterans for Peace, said more than 100 veterans from the Iraq war participated in the march, and several hundred veterans from previous wars attended as well.

Robert Watada, 67, of Honolulu, a retired executive with the State of Hawaii who said his son, First Lt. Ehren K. Watada, was to be court-martialed next month for refusing to deploy to Iraq, said: “So many thousands of our own have died and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and for what? And still we are having to push Congress to block the president.”

At least 3,065 American military personnel have been killed and at least 22,834 have been wounded since the start of the war in March 2003, according to Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, a Web site that tracks Department of Defense numbers. The United Nations has estimated that at least 35,000 Iraqis have been killed each year since the war started.