IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release

June 19, 2002

No. 02-06

(301) 585-4000
Contact:
Mokie Porter

 

VETERANS URGE WHITE HOUSE TO SUPPORT DISABLED VETERANS PAY EQUITY


(Washington, D.C.) – Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) today called upon President Bush to honor his campaign commitment to care for disabled veterans by dropping White House objections to concurrent receipt of retirement and disability pay by service-disabled military retirees. 

Today, the Office of Management and Budget issued a "Statement of Administration Policy" opposing section 641 of S. 2514, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2003, which would authorize payment of retired pay and veterans' disability compensation for disabilities rated at 60 percent or higher. The measure has overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate more than 80 Senators endorsed the concept of rectifying the disability pay disparity currently borne by retired, disabled veterans. 

"Disabled military retirees are the only federal retirees who have their retirement pay reduced for every dollar of disability pay received for injuries incurred in service to America," said Thomas H. Corey, VVA National President. "Restoring pay equity for military retirees is not only a matter of national obligation, in many cases it means the difference between a veteran living in poverty or living with dignity." 

The OMB statement provided an explicit admission by the administration that cost cutting is a higher priority than caring for disabled veterans. 

Corey said that Vietnam and later-era veterans were beginning to reach the conclusion that the Administration's campaign pledge to take care of veterans is questionable. 

"In his State of the Union message, the President promised an historic increase in funding for veterans health care. Instead, we have veterans waiting literally years for appointments. During the campaign, the President promised repeatedly to do right by veterans. Now, the Administration proposes to continue denying disabled military retirees their full earned rights for faithful and hazardous service to country. If this is the Administration's message to veterans, veterans will deliver their own message at the polls." 

Corey called on all veterans to contact their Congressmen and Senators and urge that Congress pass a defense bill that provides for concurrent receipt at a level not less than that offered by the Senate, with a target of full concurrent receipt for disabled retirees before the next Presidential election. "Veterans must make their voices heard and their votes count,” he said. “I ask all veterans to tell Congress: Stand with us now; fulfill the obligation to disabled military retirees."

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Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

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