HOW WE TREAT OUR WOUNDED
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'!)
"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
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.