color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: HOW WE TREAT OUR WOUNDED

Friday, February 15, 2008

HOW WE TREAT OUR WOUNDED

Updating and Ranting (Just a Bit). I know I haven't blogged much lately, but no rest (or blogging) for the wicked, I guess.

Here's the "updating" on our disabled Veteran son: Noah and his wife M arrived in August straight from Fort Benning and began college classes two days later. Their baby Thomas was born just days before the end of the semester. Although running on little sleep, Noah finished his classes and state certification as an EMT and is scheduled to take his National certification soon. He attends sessions at the Vet Center and is seen regularly at the VA; he is currently enrolled full time in a Fire Sciences program in college and doing very well. M is also taking classes and working. Thomas is growing by leaps and bounds and is the smartest, sweetest, most loveable grandbaby ever (I know you other grandparents know exactly what I'm sayin'!)

I plan to do a series of posts covering Noah's experiences with being medically discharged from the Army (mostly bad) and with the VA system (still needs major improvements)... but I'd like to start with two critical areas that need addressing AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Let's start out by telling you (if you don't already know) that a service member who receives a service disability rating of 30% or greater receives an annuity payment and medical insurance for him/herself and their families FOR LIFE.

Next, understand that approximately only 10% of all service members that are medically discharged receive a rating of 30% or higher. 90% receive a rating below 30%. (Service disability ratings are 0% and then in 10% increments.)

"SEVERANCE PAY". From 2000-2006, approximately 9,600 service members each year (a total of approximately 67,200) were discharged from military service as medically unfit with service disability ratings of 0%, 10% or 20%. These service members received a lump sum "severance" payment of roughly twice their monthly base pay for each year of service. If you want to do sample calculations, here's the 2006 pay charts. For an E-4 with 4 years of service, that equates to about $15,000.

For those service members medically discharged before January 28, 2008 (the effective date of the 2008 National Defense Authorization) that elected to enter the Veterans Administration system and -- after a full evaluation -- received a disability rating (this is separate and is not connected with or dependent upon the "disability percentage" the Army/Navy/AF/USMC doled out) and were awarded disability compensation (VA compensation schedules), a portion of this VA allowance was or is being WITHHELD FROM THE VETERAN UNTIL THE SEVERANCE PAYMENT IS REPAID.

That's right. Injured, wounded or ill as a result of or during their military service they have to GIVE IT BACK. THEY HAVE HAD TO PAY BACK THE SERVICES FOR THEIR INJURIES! Exactly why the payment that is supposed to be for the early termination of your military service/career must be repaid with funds that are supposed to compensate the Veteran for his/her loss of civilian earnings potential as a result of their service-connected disability is mind bending... and just wrong. When I tell people this most people are incredulous and as appalled as I am.

Now Congress has seen the error of its ways and stopped that practice with the 2008 Defense funding bill... BUT IT ONLY APPLIES GOING FORWARD... BECAUSE


THEY

SAID

THEY

DIDN'T

HAVE

THE

MONEY

FOR

ANY

OTHER

VETERANS

TO CONGRESS: DO NOT TELL ME YOU CAN'T AFFORD THIS... DO NOT.

WTF is this??? Really. WTF???

Even if Congress couldn't bring themselves to cut some meaningless shitty little piece of pork (or a small percentage of all those shitty pork projects) to cover all the vets back to 2001 that have had to PAY BACK THE ARMY OR USMC (etc.) FOR THEIR INJURIES THEY RECEIVED IN DEFENSE OF THEIR COUNTRY, THEY SHOULD AT LEAST STOP ONGOING REIMBURSEMENTS.

At 9,600 personnel per year, the number of veterans that are currently having their Veterans' compensation docked would have been maybe 10-12,000... (because some veterans have not sought disability compensation from the VA, some received no disability from the VA, and some have already completed the reimbursement.)

Now someone in Congress needs to "find the money for any veteran being docked on or after January 28. FIND THE FRIGGIN' MONEY. JUST DO IT.


I don't know what kind of outfit you're running there, but I'm certain these Veterans have earned it.

Next post I'll talk about Health Insurance... or rather, the lack of it.

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6 Comments:

At 2/15/2008 9:36 PM , Blogger THIRDWAVEDAVE said...

WTF?? This almost seems like some kind of bad joke.

 
At 2/16/2008 12:16 AM , Blogger Andrea Shea King said...

Might these be the appropriate people to take it to?

http://veterans.house.gov/about/members.shtml

Andrea

 
At 2/18/2008 9:53 PM , Blogger stef said...

Hi - my name is Stefan from www.diyfather.com. I've just come across your site - could you please contact me by email? I'd like to discuss a potential link / article exchange.

Many thanks

Stefan

stefan@www.diyfather.com
www.diyfather.com

 
At 2/19/2008 3:31 AM , Blogger Call Me Grandma said...

SSM, Dan is going through the same thing with payments he has recieved while going to school. They are telling him he has to pay back $5000 an some ought dollars. Dan got their letter and his first words were and are WTF. First they told him he is entitled to it, now he has to pay them back. WTF!!!
Sure are a bunch of screwed up pencil pushers.

 
At 2/23/2008 4:41 PM , Anonymous Janet said...

I agree. This is beyond ridiculous.

Perhaps we could take some of that earmark money that Senator DeMint is proposing to divert from the City of Berkeley after their anti-military stance, and use it for this purpose? Maybe we could send him letters and suggest this would be an appropriate use for the $2.3 million that WAS slated for Berkeley.

Thanks to good folks like you, we're working to fix these problems. Keep shedding light on them!

Janet
http://www.Military-Money-Matters.com

 
At 3/11/2008 7:28 PM , Anonymous Lindsay said...

I know that I am a little late on this comment. My husband was traumatically injured in Iraq. He is classified as an amputee, yet no one has given us any money, they didn't even tell us about TSGLI until I asked about it because I asked another Marine. I truly have lost all faith in this system. We aren't sure what his severance will be or what his disability will be. It seems that they have pushed his injury aside just because he didnt lose his entire arm. I am sick of all of this.....We need money desperately, I cant have a job in order to stay home with him and we have to drive 40miles, one way, to his hospital appointments. This is ridiculous!

So even now they are making the men pay back their severance pay? I was a bit confused about that one. He will be medically discharged in about a month or so..once he is healed from the surgery he has the 24th this month.

 

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