Political Action Page

For years I had said “I am a soldier not a Politician” and it was that implied in-action that would come to cause me heartburn latter in life. Plus time to time I would receive messages about this or that “Bill” or campaign that I felt would merit action because it may affect many of us. The problem was that I did not have a  place where I thought it would fit on this site. So I created this page for those areas of interest. 

 

RETIRED PAY RESTORATION ACT (H.R.303 & S.170)

Designed to rectify an 1891 law that requires Disabled Career Military Disabled Veterans to (waive) Pay out of retired pay an equal amount of their earned VA disability compensation. This effects over 400,000 RETIRED military disabled veterans. The bottom line is that Retired Military Disabled Veterans are the only group of people in the U.S. required to do this; Federal Employees, Civilians, Veterans and the Congress are not effected by this 100+ year old law. It is time to stand up and say “Enough”. Please contact your congressman and senator and ask them to support HR303 /S170. 

 

EMAIL - SRSC

see below

 

Please visit the USDR web site!  

 


History of the Military Pay Offset


We continually hear issues concerning disabled retirees losing their retirement pay in lieu of their receiving VA compensation pay. However, no one actually addresses the real issues of just how this came about? Also, it has never completely surfaced how the US Congress went about making this change, and the real reasoning behind why they took the disabled military retirees' pay away from them in 1891. The general population is not aware of the fact neither the Department of Defense, nor the Department of Veterans Affairs even existed in 1891, as we know it today. The US Congress and the US Congress alone is responsible for the disabled military retirees having their retirement pay taken away from them. The US Congress being the governmental body that passed the law taking away the retirement pay, results in their being the only governmental entity that can pass a law returning the retirement pay.

The following is a history of the sequence of events leading up to the offset, as we know it today: 
 

* Between 1790 and 1891 while everything came under the War Department, the military retirees received both their retirement pay and disability compensation. This was a benefit given to military members as an enticement for them to stay until retirement. Further, the Civil War was during this time frame and there were bitter feelings between the Union Army veterans and Confederate Army veterans. This was attributed mainly due to the Union veterans getting perks at the end of the war and the Confederate veterans were told to go home with nothing. Also, during this period of time while Benjamin Harrison was a Senator under President Grover Cleveland's term in office he (Harrison) tried to get the new disability pension change into the law. However, President Cleveland vetoed his attempt and left it as a Military Retirement Benefit only.
 

* During the 1890-1891 Congressional Legislative Session, Senator Benjamin Harrison (who had been a Brigadier General in the Union Army) became President and got his new law passed to provide pensions for disabilities incurred by the Civil War veterans who could not work (this did not include Confederate veterans). This was the beginning of everyone who sustained injuries and/or illness as a result of active military service being enabled to receive disability payments. However, Senator Francis Marion Cockrell of Missouri (who had been a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army.) publicly addressed opposition in the issue of officers who were currently on the active duty list being allowed to draw both a pension for disability and their active military pay. Using these issues to get back at the Union veterans (who were getting compensated) for not recognizing the Confederate veterans for compensation. He successfully concluded his fight through using the logic it would be a cost saving measure. When this law was passed the Congress had many Senators and Representatives who had either been in the Confederate Army or were sympathizers to their cause. Thus, resulting in the amendment being added excluding active duty military and disabled retired military for benefits under the new law. Now all disabled retired military have to pay for a grudge payback between two competitive entities in an effort to balance the score from days gone by. The thought of how this would affect future generations was never brought into consideration. The immediate gratification of victory was the primary goal. (Ref: World Book on line and the Congressional Research Service Report 95-469)
 

 In 1930 they brought the Veteran Affairs into existence and it later became the Department of Veteran Affairs in the later 1930s. On May 27, 1944, the US Congress then passed into law, Public Law 78-314 the requirement of a dollar for dollar offset reduction of retired military pay for every dollar of VA compensation received, and if the retiree is 100% disabled they forfeit all of their retirement. This new law was placed in the US Code, Title 38, Sections 5304 and 5305. Now it must be kept in mind Veteran Affairs only funds in their budget for compensation received for service connected injuries and/or illnesses. The VA has nothing to do whatsoever with the budgeting of military retired pay. (Ref: Public Law 78-314 & US Code, Title 38, Sections 5304 & 5305)
 

* Military retirement pay was regulated by the War Department in accordance with the US Code Title 10, Chapter 71. The US Congress passed laws directing in Chapter 71 to use the directives set forth in Title 38 concerning disabled military retirees. In 1949 the War Department became The Department of Defense and all retired military pay continues to be controlled by that department. (Ref: US Code, Title 10, Chapter 71)
 

* In 1984 the US Congress passed a bill "The Military Retirement Fund" these guidelines were incorporated in US Code Title 10, Chapter 74, Sections 1461 through 1467. This placed the Secretary of Defense with the responsibility of placing in the Department of Defense budget funding to pay all military retirees. There is nothing in this chapter instructing the Secretary to not draw down for those retirees who are reported as receiving disability compensation. This results in a surplus that is sent back to the US Department of Treasury, who places the overage into money accounts and the surplus is spent as they see fit for items not included in the budget. All others working with the US Military who are Civil Service Employees in all branches of the Government, including The Department of Defense, The Armed Forces, Senators, Representatives, and Presidential Staff draw both their full retirement pay and full VA compensation for service connected injuries and/or illnesses. Keep in mind the US Congress also passed into law it is unlawful to discriminate. However, this is clearly a case of discrimination in the purest sense and definition of the word. (Ref: US Code, Title 10, Chapter 74, Sections 1461 through 1467. Also, discrimination of any veteran (treating one or group any different from any other veteran) is addressed throughout Title 38 and is prohibited under penalty of violation of the law.) Keep in mind discrimination laws did not exist 100 years ago. Through evolution and education many laws became outdated and actually became an illegal act by the passage of new Congressional law changes and this is one of those instances.

The US Congress has consistently for the past 100 years looked at only the cost factor. Also, their thought process for the most part in the past has been it is best to continue taking the money away from the disabled retirees as they are of no further use to the US Government. This sounds like it is a very callous statement, however history speaks for itself. Hopefully someday we will see the record set right. As you can see the issue of duplicate pay actually does not exist, nor has it ever existed in the past. The Disability Pension benefit from its inception was designed exclusively as a retirement incentive for the military to have a means for the retention of an experienced soldier population. Also, the cost factor would in reality be between 1.0 billion to 1.9 billion a year to reinstate it. The hate between parties has been resolved (north & south), the system has been realigned, and taken from military control ensuring the allegations made in 1890-91 of active duty personnel being paid disability pensions are now days gone by. We can no longer change the past. However, we can effect positive change in the future through bringing equality and dignity back into lives of our disabled military retired veterans and society as a whole.

Terry L. Quisenberry, Sr.
CWO, (Ret) Army
Lawton, OK
100% Disabled Service Connected after 27 years service.

 

EMAIL - SRSC

This E-mail was sent to the OSD office on public information as well as the named service organizations and the congressional offices senate and congress. 

Suggested story for DOD Armed forces News story

Subject: 10 U.S.C. 1413a. EO 9397. Combat Related Special Compensation.

The United States Department of Defense Special Compensation Program for severely Disabled Combat Related Military Retirees is inadequately staffed, poorly organized and over whelmed. As an example: A phone call to the USAF Special Compensation Office at Randolph AFB for severely disabled combat related retirees reports they have four staff members to process the hundreds of application they have receiving on a daily basis since 1 June 2003. They have not received the necessary cooperation from the Department of Veterans Affairs which is necessary to acquire the VA case files and disability claims codes necessary to process applications. This is just one example. The Army contracted out their CRSC to handle the 20,000 applications they have received to date. The services had by law six months to put into action the program and have failed to execute the task in a timely manner. NBC nightly news ran three special stories on the injustices on the prohibitions of concurrent receipt. This e-mail has been forwarded to NBC, VFW, DAV and MOAA for a follow up story on the DOD's failure to attend to their severely disabled retires in a timely manner. Poorly planned by the Armed Forces Services leadership and posture to hold at arms length the Veterans Service Organization have resulted in an important program falling on its face. The disabled retirees deserve more than the feeble and ineptly planned and staffed program, which is designed to have corrected a 100 years of unjust removal of earned longevity retired pay. The courageous civil servants working tirelessly cannot be held accountable for the failure of their superiors to accomplish the mission with out the necessary resources. Many military retirees believe that CRSC case review is a duplication of effort as the Department of Veterans Affairs has already documented the service connection and the events surrounding the claim as verifiable fact as required by law.

This might be a better Story:

DOD moves quickly to address the short fall in CRSC program implementation, as the braches of each service are flooded with applications. Each Branch of service has infused the necessary resources to process the applications. The DOD has pressed the VA for more cooperation in case file information necessary to process applications. Serious consideration is being given to a taskforce requesting for manning assistance sending experience raters t to the DOD to being to assist the CRSC staff for each branch of service. The DOD and the VA are committed work together to avoid duplication of effort. DOD will give retiree the benefit of the dough when granting CRSC to Retirees who meet the threshold for the Special Compensation.

Respectfully Yours John J Navarro Major, Retired. USAF,


This is a follow up to and E mail I request be posted on your web site.I intent to play hard ball. I have nothing to lose.

 

On 06-30-03 HQAFPC/DPPDS (CRSC) section advised me the conditions, which I clearly provided both medical and military documentation verifying my claim to just entitlement as required by law for CRSC. The vague form letter sent me indicated the conditions, which the CRSC case specialist denied my claim.  Col Larry Van Buren USAF Chief of the Physical Disability Division signed the form letter. I will composes my appeal letter and submitted it with in the next week. I will fax your office the application I sent the Air Force minus the supporting documentation as it would by to cumbersome. My application is supported by documents, which I will make available upon request.  My application was tabbed for every section to assist the case review examiners. Competent Air Force and Veterans Administration legal and medical authority has determined these conditions are service-connected conditions and have provided the supporting documentation. This is a formal complaint, which Im lodging with your office. Please conduct a congressional inquiry into my allegations that the Air Force CRSC process has failed to meet the letter and sprit of the Law. Im so convinced that my application was wrongfully denied that it reflects the gross dereliction of duty by the staff and the officers charged with the Administration of this congressional mandate. I'm considering another forum preferring formal charges against Col Van Buren USAF. After legal consultation I my ask that an investigation and article 31 hearing be conducted to address violations of Article 31 the UCMJ related to hid failure to follow the orders, instructions and policies policys set forth to a sure the success of CRSC.  I grant you permission to have axis to my entire record. The unlawful actions not to follow the prescribed criteria as required by Law having knowing and willing deprived me of and important government benefit. The appeals process is conducted by the Secretary of the Air Force and will take many months. I may formally move forward Via the Please process, GAO Complaint and the Uniform Military Justice Compliant process. I would love to testify in front of the Armed services Sub Committee regarding the failure to the Air force to corrected 100 plus years of injustice. This was sold as a beachhead for Concurrent receipt. My perception is they have follow the tried and true method of filing a claim with government agencys denied the claim thus weeding out the less committed.  I want a congressional investigation in to the specifics of my case. My documentation and claims were quite specific and well supported to creditable medical and service records.

 

 MORE THOUGHTS

This weekend the CRSC section via a vague form letter I was denied advised me.

r. The application was replete numerous and tabbed medical and service records exceeding the criteria set fourth in the law and Air force published stands. I will now move forward with my appeal. I will also advises my congressman Bill Young, OSD office for Force personal management using complaint Channels. My nest option is formal charges under article 92 for dereliction of duty for having been derelict in his duty to execute his responsibility as required by law and DOD and USAF instruction. In my early E-mails I made some allegations about the DOD and service leadership. In my case they denied my claim for CRSC in the face of documentation extracted from my VA  C file and additional documents to support my claim. AS part of my job at the VA I help Veteran with the process of putting together their claim. The VA and the VA C&P examiners along with USAF medical doctors having supported my claim granted my Claim. I will now be embroiled in 18 months or better appeals process. My assertion is the inadequately trained case review officers and the chief of the Disability section had a duty to follow the Laws and regulations guiding the program execution and failed to meet the minimal standard as set fourth in the guide lines.  Just when I thought a 100 years of injustice where done the struggle continues.

Respectfully

 

 

John Navarro Major (ret) USAF

 

 

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