Administration Avoids Fair Payment to Disabled Soldiers

by TChris

The Bush administration doesn't like to quibble about amounts when it writes checks to military contractors. Taking care of soldiers injured in battle, on the other hand, brings out the administration's stinginess.

A soldier found to be 30 percent disabled receives a monthly military retirement check and family health care at military hospitals. A lower disability rating leads to severance from the Army, a taxable $12,000 benefit payment, and personal health care (with no family coverage) from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. As the number of wounded soldiers has grown, lawyers report that it has become less likely that the soldiers will be assigned a 30 percent disability rating, even when they're incapable of working -- like Cpl. Richard Twohig, profiled in this story.

"I think the Army Physical Evaluation Board is broken," [civilian lawyer Mark] Waple said. "The DoD would rather buy another cruise missile than medically retire someone. Systemically, what we've seen in the last seven years, they just seem to give a zero, 10, 20 percent disability so they are no longer on the DoD payroll. It is almost like a fix is in somewhere."

David Sheldon, a Washington lawyer, said the Army Physical Evaluation Board is the toughest one among all the service branches from which to get a fair hearing. "They have a boots-on-the-ground mentality," he said. "You are a soldier. You have to buck up and go on with your life."

Sheldon said he believes the Defense Department doesn't have the money to continue to pay soldiers who can't fight, so it has an incentive to transfer them to the VA.

It's time for the Bush adminsitration to be as generous with the injured soldiers who return from war as it is with Halliburton.

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    Re: Administration Avoids Fair Payment to Disabled (none / 0) (#1)
    by Mreddieb on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:03 PM EST
    I am a disabled Vietnam Vet (friendly fire) and suffer from PTSD. I find myself now trapped between two Nightmares. The one I have when I sleep, the other one when I wake up! No wonder so many of us turn to the pistol under our bed! Don't fret about me though, I'm heavily sedated and waiting for the next post. :)

    Re: Administration Avoids Fair Payment to Disabled (none / 0) (#2)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:03 PM EST
    Well how else is the Pentegon going to pay for that 75 million bonus they just gave halliburton? Soldiers are just so much cannon fodder for this administration.

    Support the troops or just put the bumper sticker on the SUV? Anybody want to bet on the outcome of gulf war syndrome and the new disabilities developed in this new war by exposure to chemicals, depleted uranium, etc? Govt finally had to give up on arguing that Agent Orange was not so bad and started paying the disabled troops who had been exposed. Just took a couple of decades of dissembling and by then a lot of the vets had passed on to their reward. Soldiers or cannon fodder? You make the call. Anybody wondering why the military is having recruitment problems?

    Re: Administration Avoids Fair Payment to Disabled (none / 0) (#4)
    by DawesFred60 on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:03 PM EST
    Fair is not part of the bush boys, after all send the troops out to do combat for who bush and business? send the troops out to get bin laden, and bush tells the world "we don't want bin laden". soon the fools will understand what happened in 1919. do not die for bush.

    Re: Administration Avoids Fair Payment to Disabled (none / 0) (#5)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:04 PM EST
    According to my local paper this morning, part of the $82 billion supplement is for increased payments to the next of kin of KIA's. Just a sliver of good news. Yet, the war is still illegal and the rank and file military should just refuse to go. Bushco is wanted for war crimes. Muslim uprisings across the middle east and asia.

    Re: Administration Avoids Fair Payment to Disabled (none / 0) (#6)
    by SeeEmDee on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:07 PM EST
    I don't know why anybody should be surprised at this latest slap-in-the-face to our troops; the civilian office of Worker's Comp, the OWCP, has been turning down legit Fed cases for years, and using the same kind of little tricks. It's just gotten so tight now that the DoD is taking a page from OWCP's handbook.