In recent times, there’s been much discussion regarding veterans and their earned military pension (in addition to VA disability compensation). Now, there’s good news after bipartisan legislation was agreed upon to ensure these benefits could be accessed by all veterans. Introduced by Reps Gus Bilirakis and Tulsi Gabbard (FL-12), the idea was to overhaul the current disability and retirement benefits system – neither of which were available in full to veterans who received 40% (or lower) rates of service-connected disability compensation.
With the introduction of the so-called Retired Pay Restoration Act, this issue within the law would be corrected, and any veterans that fall inside this criteria would be eligible for veterans’ disability compensation, combat-related special pay, and/or military retired pay.
In an interview shortly after the announcement, Rep Gabbard, who is a co-chair of the Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus, noted how no veteran should be penalized after serving for our country just because of an arbitrary bureaucratic rule. Since disability and retirement benefits are ‘two different things,’ she believes that neither should count against the other and that they should be considered independently.
A Welcome Change
Previously, it was thought that hundreds of thousands of veterans weren’t receiving their hard-earned disability or retirement benefits in full. For Gabbard, this whole oversight in law was ‘ridiculous’ and needed to change. With the introduction of the bipartisan legislation, these veterans will have their pay corrected, and they’ll get the money they deserve.
For Congressman Bilirakis, he was just as frustrated with the existing law and noted how it was ‘unconscionable.’ After serving for the country and putting their lives in danger to fight for freedom and the other pillars of American society, Bilirakis said they deserve the ‘utmost respect’ which includes both services and care. Again, he reiterated the point that these two benefits should be considered independently.
Thanks to the hard work of Gabbard and Bilirakis, this important cause has found a solution, and now hundreds of thousands of veterans will benefit. To finish his speech, Bilirakis believed this year would finally be the year that this ‘injustice’ would be rectified.