Reid Introduces Legislation To Ensure Full Disability Compensation For Veterans

Statement

By:  Harry Reid
Date: Feb. 7, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Nevada Senator Harry Reid today introduced The Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2013 (S.234) that 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. Through Senator Reid's efforts, Congress enacted a 10-year phase-in of concurrent receipt for military retirees whose disability is 50 percent or greater and this legislation closes the gap for the remaining disabled veterans who do not qualify for this earned benefit. Without passage of this bill, many wounded warriors will not receive the care they were promised and the benefits they deserve in service to our nation.

"This legislation addresses an injustice against 625,000 disabled veterans across the country face," said Reid. "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.

"Throughout my time in Washington, I have fought hard to ensure that all disabled veterans are fully compensated for their years of 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%.

"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 we should not abandon our wounded warriors when they return home."

Background on Senator Reid's Efforts to Provide Full Concurrent Receipt

* 2002- Congress passes a measure known as combat-related special compensation, or CSRC, allowing for disabled retired veterans to receive payments that are the financial equivalent of concurrent receipt.
* 2003- Congress enacts a 10-year phase-in of concurrent receipt for military retirees whose disability is 50 percent or greater, and in 2004, eliminated the 10-year waiting period for those veterans with 100 percent service-related disability.
* 2008- Congress expands concurrent receipt eligibility to include those who are 100 percent disabled due to un-employability and extends equivalent financial payments to those who are medically retired or have retired prematurely due to force reduction programs.
* 2012- Congress ensures that combat-disabled military retirees receive proper combat-related disability and retirement benefits by eliminating the "glitch" in the CRSC formula that can actually cause a reduction in their compensation amount when the VA increases their disability rating.