Boulder City residents understand the crucial role our veterans play in Nevada’s communities. They are innovators, leaders, and community builders. For the many Nevadans who wore the uniform to defend our freedoms, it is crucial that we support them after they complete their service to our nation. In particular, we must always support those veterans who became disabled or injured on the battlefield.
For the past 122 years, 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 in the line of duty. This is simply wrong, and we owe it to our veterans to do better.
Through my efforts, Congress enacted a 10-year phase-in of concurrent receipt for military retirees whose disability is 50 percent or greater. I have fought hard to ensure that all disabled veterans are fully compensated for their service and I am pleased that the ten-year phase-in period will finally come to bear, providing full concurrent receipt for veterans with a disability rating of 50-90%. However, we must finish our work for our nation’s heroes with a rating of 0-40%.
Earlier this month, 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 between 0-40% to receive both their military retired pay and full disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs. This legislation closes the gap for the remaining disabled veterans who do not qualify for this earned benefit and without passage of this bill, many wounded warriors will not receive the care they were promised.
Few retirees can afford to live on their retired pay alone, and a severe disability only makes the problem worse by limiting or denying any post-service working life. It is unfair for our veterans to be denied receipt of their earned retirement benefits. We would never abandon a service member on the battlefield, and I urge my colleagues to strongly consider this legislation in the coming months to ensure that we never abandon our wounded warriors when they return home.
Contact Harry Reid at http://reid.senate.gov/