Posted by Sen. Reid's Staff
More than a decade ago I learned that Congress has repeatedly forced the bravest men and women in our nation – retired, career veterans – to forfeit dollar-for-dollar their retirement pay if they also receive disability pay for an injury that occurred while serving our nation. This is a problem that needs a solution.
For more than 122 years, these disabled and injured heroes have been short-changed. What started as a cost-cutting measure implemented after the Civil War became an accepted long-term reality. We owe it to our veterans to do better and that is why I began working to legalize concurrent receipt of disability and retirement benefits.
We have made progress. In 2003, I led Congress in passing a 10-year phase-in of concurrent receipt for military retirees whose disability is 50 percent or greater. In 2004, those with 100 percent disability were able to begin drawing concurrent pay immediately. And I am pleased that this year the ten-year phase-in period will finally come to bear. However, we must now fight to close the gap for our nation’s heroes with a disability rating less than 50 percent.
In February, I introduced The Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2013. This legislation will permit retired members of the Armed Forces who have a service-connected disability rating less than 50 percent to receive both their military retired pay and full disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
This legislation will provide much needed support for the remaining 625,000 disabled veterans who do not qualify for this earned benefit. Without passage of this bill, wounded warriors in Nevada and every other state will fail to receive the care they were promised.
I am committed to correcting this unfortunate error. We must always stand up for the men and women who become wounded or disabled in service to this great nation. I urge my colleagues in Congress to join me to ensure American heroes are never abandoned.
RenoBruce R. Thompson
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