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Congress Declares War Against Disabled Veterans

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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-17-03 10:59 AM
Original message
Congress Declares War Against Disabled Veterans
From the Disabled Veterans of American website:

Congress Declares War Against Disabled Veterans

WASHINGTON (September 10, 2003) The House majority leadership has shown callous contempt for the sacrifices of America's defenders by attempting to impose overly restrictive conditions that would limit benefits for disabilities from military service, said the Disabled American Veterans.

At issue is a proposed modification to the 2004 Defense authorization bill that would deny disability compensation and priority for health care to Americans who become disabled while serving their country if their disabilities are not directly related to performance of their official duties. Known as a "direct performance of duty" standard, this provision would overturn current law which authorizes service connection for disabilities incurred in the line of duty during service in the United States Armed Forces.

"Disability incurred in the line of duty is sometimes not directly due to a job injury, but may be due to less obvious factors attributable to the military environment," said DAV National Commander Alan W. Bowers. "Proof of a causal relationship may often be difficult or impossible to establish. Current law equitably relieves disabled veterans from the onerous burden of establishing performance of duty or other causal connection as a prerequisite for service connection."

An untold number of men and women will return from Iraq and the war on terror with disabilities. The military and veterans organizations worry that many of them will not be able to directly identify or prove the origin of their ailments, but that certainly does not mean they should be ignored. "Any suggestion to the contrary is outrageous and shameful," Commander Bowers said.

The nation's veterans and military service organizations are adamantly opposed to any change that would redefine service-connected disability or restrict the circumstances under which service-connection may be established. "We are shocked and appalled that any member of Congress or the Administration would suggest that such a draconian measure," said Commander Bowers.


This is an outrage that we are not providing the properly healthcare for our Veterans who were disabled during their time of duty. I swear I'm going to make photocopies of this article and have them handy anytime someone calls me "Un-American". This boils my blood to temperatures that should be peeling my skin off my bones.


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StClone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-17-03 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
1. If nothing else indicates
How the Republicans see soldiers look at BushCo. Avoided vietnam, strutted around like a fighter jock and then cut Vet benefits. My father was not a tool in WWII but ChimpCo certainly sees 'em that way.
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-17-03 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
2. That's a good idea to make copies and distribute them,
once my blood pressure goes back down to normal levels, I'm definitely going to do the same!
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-17-03 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
3. And they makin' some more of them while we speak! ..
"Disabled Vets"! If I were them I would get the word to all my
my fellow Soldiers and have a mass walkout until things were settled my a strike! This is ridiculous, they're over there dying for them and they're over here cuttin' their benefits. :grr:
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leetrisck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-17-03 11:29 AM
Response to Original message
4. Health Care is not the only item
where the vets are getting screwed. The Repukes have always managed to get away with "I support the troops" - "I support the veterans". What a crock of crap. The stuff going on behind closed door right now that the public never sees is another screw job involving concurrent receipt and Combat Special Related Compensation. Bush threatened to veto last time (but had to save face) and the Repukes killed it in the House - Hastert, Delay and Blunt. Now we are at it again - will be interesting to see whathappens but do not trust anything the Repukes are saying they are doing to support the vets.
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Amich Donating Member (235 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-17-03 12:41 PM
Response to Original message
5. thanks for the info
I happen to be a disabled veteran. I don't know if I could prove where or when exactly that I injured myself. I am writing to my congress man ASAP he at least has been one that has worked to help veterans. I am so sick of this adminstration saying that they support the troops..
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fknobbit Donating Member (479 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-17-03 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Disabled retired Veterans screwed because retirement fund looted!
Edited on Wed Sep-17-03 03:53 PM by fknobbit

Military Trust Fund Looted
Military Retirement Trust Fund Looted
Sept. 16

Nothing is impossible when it comes to the present administration attempting to shaft retired and disabled veterans. Now we know why the Military Retirement Trust Fund (MRTF) cant be used to offset a repeal of the Disabled Veterans Tax. According to Senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC), it has been "looted" to balance the budget.

According to a chart displayed at Senator Holling's Website, during 2001 the MTRF lost $157 billion, in 2002 $166 billion was taken, and in 2003 $174 billion. A total of $497 billion over the last three years was taken from the fund to balance a budget that isnt even balanced.

While SECDEF Donald Rumsfeld has been saying it would cost too much to pay both earned retirement pay for serving 20 or more years and VA disability compensation for injuries and illnesses during that service, disabled vets have been saying to take the money from the MRTF. There should be enough in the fund to pay the offset just from the earned interest.

Although these unusual accounting practices take place in DC, it is particularly disturbing to retired disabled vets because the VA disability compensation snatched by DOD directly from the retirement checks of disabled retired veterans every month is deposited in the Military Retirement Trust Fund (MRTF), along with the annual full cost of retired pay. It is bad enough this happens to start with, but then to have the entire fund looted makes it just that much worse.

Most disabled retired veterans had the belief this money sanctioned under Title 10 was sacred, monitored and controlled by a separate civilian Board of Actuaries that were accountable for the fund. Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave ...

In actuality, these funds are removed and become obligations -- part of the national deficit -- and it appears the Treasury views them as revenue. I would think if the private sector did this, they would be facing possible jail time.

Something smells rotten in Denmark. I guess there is more than one way to balance the books. But then again, it all falls under the SECDEF Donald Rumsfeld. According to Title 10: "The Secretary of Defense shall provide for the keeping of such records as are necessary for determining the actuarial status of the Fund." What has he done with the money? I think he should have to account for it now. Is there anything this man hasnt got his fingers in?

With this type of accounting, funding repeal of The Disabled Veterans Tax should be easy. Just have Mr. Rumsfeld add another $40 or $50 billion to the money that was looted to cover the next 10 years and let the retired disabled vets keep their full retirement pay. Heck, the money isnt going to be repaid anyway.

In all honesty, it is not only the MRTF that gets looted, it is one of a long list including Social Security, Medicare , Civilian Retirement, Unemployment, Highway, Airport, Railroad Retirement and others for a total of $2,335 billion. But no other group of retirees have money snatched from their retirement checks and put into the fund that disappears. Civilian retirees get to keep all of their earned retirement, while disabled veterans dont.

And to think these same people were attempting to further cheat disabled veterans by reforming Title 38, VA disability guidelines, by eliminating disabilities of those now fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan in order to pilfer even more funds. It is absolutely shameful.

In further updates of The Disabled veterans Tax, it appears the GOP is upset over the comments made by the major Veterans Organizations about their adamant refusal to accept the compromise that would further cheat future disabled veterans and decrease their now recognized benefits. Talks could be on hold while the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conferees discuss other funding issues.

In about a week it will be too late to approve any funding for this issue. But Democrats still have Rep. Jim Marshalls Discharge Petition that only needs 16 more signatures to force it to the House floor for a vote. Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones threatened to break party ranks and said he and about 15 to 20 others would sign the petition if a workable plan was not submitted. In addition, Rep. Mike Bilirakis (R-Fla.), said he would also sign if there was no plan submitted. However, he is trying to coordinate a plan with the White House that would permit all or partial restoration for retired disabled veterans.

US Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-NC) and other military veterans in Congress wrote President Bush a letter yesterday to urge to him to support Concurrent Receipt for disabled veterans, additional funding for VA hospitals and access to military health care for members of the National Guard and Reserves.

"I can support the Presidents request for funds to help the military get the job done in Iraq, but I want to make sure that our troops and veterans dont pay the price," Rep. Etheridge said. (Is there an implied condition here?)

"Currently, disabled veterans who are also military retirees have their retirement pay docked by the amount of their disability payments. Americas soldiers are fighting for our freedom overseas. They and their families shouldnt have to fight the government to receive the benefits they deserve. As veterans, we know the strong words in support of our military and our veterans are a poor substitute for strong action on their behalf."
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leetrisck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-17-03 04:18 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Just remember, they all say
"I support the veterans" - "I co-sponsored that bill" and all of that is true and makes them look so good for those photo ops but so far behind the scenes and when it gets down to the nitty gritty, they all buckle to Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Chu & bush. Rumsfeld has actually said "If we "give" this to you, what do we get in return? I detest these people for what they have done and are doing to the veterans who are dying off in astronomical numbers every day.
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-17-03 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Thank you for your service, I'm sorry the Bush Regime couldn't do better
But I'm happy to say that not only do my Dem senators here in Delaware oppose these cuts, but even my moderate republican senator feels the same way as the democrats do.
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fknobbit Donating Member (479 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-17-03 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Delaware

The Senate has voted to attach the bill (S.392) to the appropriation (100% of the total Senate votes were for the Veteran), problem is the Senate does not control the purse strings. The house killed it in the 107th and were about to do the same in the 108th until the Dem's forced the issue 600,000 irate retired disabled Veteran voters have been involved in one of the largest grass roots letter writing campaigns ever.

The problem is with Bush and house leadership threatening to bust any repub who signed the discharge petition to force the issue to the floor. Sorry but your guy Castle is refusing to sign the petition and is following party line. Only one House Republican has defied leadership (Colorado)and signed. The petition is 18 signatures short and Bush is working backroom deals now trying to limit what he has to give up and wants to trade off with Veterans service organization The restoration of earned retirement pay for their ok to stiff future Vets and current combat troops. The scoop is Hastert is working a phase in deal hoping attrition will take care of a vast # of the retired disabled Veterans prior to the end of the phase in period. Talk is cheap and the repubs all claim to be the Veterans Buddies their walk is questionable.
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leetrisck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-17-03 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. You're so right
Keep those e-mails and faxes and phone lines humming - the pressure is really on from the vets and they are blasting bush, rumsfeld, etc up one side and down the other. Active duty military is getting a lot of this info also - has been appearing in the Military Times papers.
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DemoVet Donating Member (572 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-17-03 08:48 PM
Response to Original message
11. Well, disabled vets ain't cheap, you know
and I should know, they're paying me not-nearly-enough every month for my missing left leg. So if they determine that a quadraplegic or multiple-amputee veteran was not wounded while performing his or her "official duties" (Love to know what their criteria are) that they'll have to sit on a corner with a cup on their lap for the rest of their lives? Boy, I love the country these people envision. Maybe we can reinstiture debtors prisons?
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