- J. Olson
Almost 50,000 Combat-Injured Vets Would Get Increased Benefits Under Proposed Law
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have reintroduced legislation that would provide an estimated 50,000 combat-injured veterans with increased benefits.
The bill, if passed, could add thousands to the pockets of those disabled veterans.
The government would extend full military benefits to combat-injured veterans under the proposal, even those who served less than 20 years.
Under the current law, only veterans with disability ratings over 50% and more than 20 years of service are eligible for the full benefits.
“The Major Richard Star Act will fix this policy for medically retired combat veterans by providing them with their full VA disability and DoD retirement payments,” lawmakers stated. The Wounded Warriors Project says that the current law “requires a dollar for dollar offset of these two benefits, meaning they have to forfeit a portion of the benefits they earned in service.”
The new legislation would have broad support from both Republicans and Democrats, along with numerous veterans groups across the nation.
"The Veterans of Foreign Wars is urging Congress to pass the Major Richard Star Act to help put money back in the pockets of Veterans who were forced to retire early from military service because of battlefield injury or illness," stated Steve Kjonaas, who is the legislative director of Veterans of Foreign Wars Colorado.
Ultimately, the passing of this new law would be a solid step in the right direction for veterans. It would allow almost 50,000 more vets to get the full benefits they deserve.
The Major Richard Star Act was brought about thanks to U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Richard Star. Here's more about him and how he helped bring attention to this issue.
U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Richard Star served in Afghanistan and Iraq but was forced to retire before reaching the 20-year mark for service. In 2018, he discovered he had lung cancer.
According to the Military Officers Association of America, Star’s cancer diagnosis may have been caused by exposure to toxic burn pits while overseas.
When he learned that he would not earn full benefits, he advocated to members of Congress for himself and other service members who became disabled while serving.
In February 2021, Star died from Stage 4 lung cancer. Lawmakers have named the benefits bill in his honor.