Today, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to provide appropriate increases in compensation for military personnel that are severely injured in combat operations. The Traumatic Injury Protection Improvement Act removes the Department of Defense's current $100,000 catastrophic cap for traumatic injuries incurred in combat, combat training, or an instrumentality of war.
"Right now, more servicemembers are surviving severe injuries than ever before," said Rep. Baca. "While this is welcome news, the seriousness of these injuries can place a difficult financial burden on our wounded heroes and their loved ones. It is only right that the benefits and compensation policies for injured servicemembers is updated to ensure the very best quality of life for these who have suffered devastating injuries."
The objective of the Traumatic Injury Protection Improvement Act is to ensure servicemembers that have lost the functionality of limbs and reproductive organs are compensated for the entirety of their loss, not a capped dollar figure that does not satisfactorily meet the financial burdens they and their families will face. The payment rate for servicemembers who suffer serious injuries is determined by the Traumatic Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (TSGLI) policy. Currently, the TSGLI caps the total payment amount that a servicemember may receive at $100,000. More information on the TSGLI schedule of losses can be found online at http://www.insurance.va.gov/sgliSite/TSGLI/ScheduleOfLosses.pdf.
"As an Army veteran myself, I am all too aware of the hardships our military men and women and their families endure to protect our country," concluded Rep. Baca. "By lifting the current $100,000 catastrophic payment cap, this responsible bill helps our nation better live up to its responsibility to properly care for our veterans and military men and women."
Rep. Baca is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper with both the 101st and the 82nd Airborne Divisions from 1966-68.