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.