Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid today introduced legislation that would allow disabled veterans in the state and throughout America to finally receive both the disability and retired pay they earned.
Known commonly as “Concurrent Receipt,” the current law prevents veterans classified as disabled by the Veterans Administration (VA) from collecting both disability pay and retired pay, despite the fact that the men and women are eligible for both for different reasons. For every dollar a veteran receives as disability compensation, a dollar is deducted from his or her retirement pay. In some 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. Reid’s legislation would end this unconscionable practice.
“It is simply absurd to deny disabled veterans every dollar they deserve,” Reid said. “Being compensated for disability and for years of good service are completely separate and one must not be held against the other. We must keep the promise we make to every veteran by ensuring they receive all the benefits they earn.”
Reid is a longtime champion of fixing this bad policy. In 2003, Congress passed legislation that allowed veterans with at least a 50 percent disability rating to become eligible for concurrent receipt of benefits over a 10-year phase-in period. The following year, Reid helped eliminate the phase-in for those veterans with a 100 percent disability rating. In 2005, Reid led legislation to allow concurrent receipt of retired and disability compensation for veterans classified by the VA as “unemployable.” However, this group of veterans waited until this year to receive the benefit of that legislation.
The Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2009 will eliminate the remaining obstruction and ensure full concurrent receipt for all disabled veterans, allowing them to get the compensation they earned.
# # #