Tag Archives: disability

Defense Department Saves Pennies On Disabled

Veteran groups are up in arms over a recent memo` from the Defense Department which makes it harder for members of the military who are injured while serving their country to deal with the financial aspects of leaving the armed forces. Congress specifically stated that anyone, regardless of whether they served directly in a combat zone or was injured while training to fight, did not have to pay back any portion of their severance pay before becoming eligible for Veterans Administration disability compensation. In disregard for the intent of Congress, David Chu, of the Defense Department, interpreted the law as only applying to those who were in a combat zone. The result of this memo is that many who were disabled while serving their country are faced with the prospect of paying thousands of dollars they probably do not possess.

This is merely one more example of the petty manner in which the current Bush administration deals with needs of those who serve. The total amount saved in a $650 billion Defense Department budget is minor, but still the Pentagon went ahead with its policy. A soldier who is training for combat and crashes a helicopter resulting in disability is not considered eligible under Defense Department guidelines. Congress intends to make certain they will be.

Housing Crisis And War In Iraq

There is considerable discussion in the media about the war in Iraq and casualty figures, but much less notice has been focused on what happens to reservists and members of the National Guard who must place careers on stand-still or cope with financial pressures created when an individual shifts from a good salary to the one being received in the military. The Senate has decided to address one issue– housing and mortgage payments. A new bill would delay forclosure action against a service member for up to nine months after they return from deployment. It also provides one year of relief from increases in mortgage interest rates for retuning service members and creates a counseling program to help them deal with financial problems. The cap on veterans’ home loans, now set at $417,000 would temporarily rise as high as $730,000.

The bill finally has the government begin to address the host of problems created by the war in Iraq such as the nearly 30,000 who have been wounded. The bill provides grants to assist those who were disabled to modify their homes in order to meet new physical needs. There are so many financial issues which remain unresolved. Many reservists and National Guard members are confronting severe financial problems due to changes in their income. Will these receive any attention?