Disabled Veterans May Get Expanded Retirement Benefits
Nearly 42,000 Disabled Veterans Would Receive Disability Compensation & Retirement Pay
A bipartisan push in Congress could provide nearly 42,000 combat-injured veterans with expanded retirement benefits. They would be eligible to receive both disability compensation and retired pay. The Major Richard Star Act (S.344) would allow disabled veterans who were medically retired before serving 20 years to receive their full military benefits.
As it stands now, retired veterans with less than 20 years of service have their disability pay deducted from their retirement pay. This is commonly referred to as an ‘offset’. This legislation would eliminate that offset and allow these combat-wounded veterans to receive both disability and full military retirement.
Support From All Sides
“All active duty and retired military personnel deserve to receive the full care and benefits they have earned, not just fragments offset by government red tape,” declared Senator Crapo (R-Idaho) in a February 22, 2021 press release. “[This bill] will ensure medically retired and combat-injured veterans receive both military retired pay and disability compensation earned through their service to our nation.”
This legislation has also garnered support from many mainstream Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), like Military Officer Association of America (MOAA), the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), and Disabled American Veterans (DAV).
“Military retired pay and VA disability compensation are two different benefits established by Congress for two different purposes, and under no circumstances should veterans have to forfeit a portion of their retirement pay simply because they were medically retired for combat-related injuries,” said Jose Ramos, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Wounded Warrior Project.
While this bill was introduced in 2020, it failed to pass and was reintroduced this year after a new congress was sworn in. As of February 22, 2021, the bill had been referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs for review.
(Image courtesy of Staff Sgt. David Staten via Marines.mil)
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About the author
Robert Haynes is a retired Army infantryman who has a squad of kids and is married to an active duty Soldier. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, who spent his last few years in the Army as a Drill Sergeant. He is now a full-time dad, freelance writer, and out-of-work comedian.