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NBC News story-if you missed it 1-31-02

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  • Veterans-Voting-Bloc
    Uncle Sam s War Veterans Need Your Help Now A CRAMPED OFFICE serves as a recruiting center for soldiers who want to fight. They are retired, disabled soldiers
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1 7:15 AM
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      Uncle Sam's War Veterans Need Your Help Now









      A CRAMPED OFFICE serves as a recruiting center for soldiers who want to fight. They are retired, disabled soldiers in a legal fight against the very government they served, the government that they say has fleeced them.
      "I thought I had it made," says World War II veteran John Deaver.
      Three decades in uniform left him 100 percent disabled. Deaver receives $2,400 per month in disability payments, but because of a quirky, 19th century law, all of it is then deducted from his retirement pay.
      "I am funding my own disability out of my hard-earned retirement pay," says Deaver.


      Class action suit


      . Click here to learn more about the Military Retired Pay Restoration Act and the related lawsuit.




      Veterans' Voting Bloc, unitedvets.tripod.com

      Had Deaver only finished his career in another branch of the federal government - with the Post Office or the IRS, for instance - he and half a million other disabled vets' retirement pay would remain untouched. And that's discrimination, says Philip Jones, a disabled war veteran who became a lawyer.
      "It violates our rights because they are taking away a percentage of our entitlement that we have earned and they are not taking it away from any other government employee," says Jones.
      NBC News reported on the veterans' plight twice last year. They fought back and lobbied Congress to pass a law that would provide them with their full benefits. But this law must be funded by the administration, which vets say is unlikely.
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      "They can pass all the bills they want to but if they don't fund them they're no good," says disabled veteran Robert Manley.
      "What are the veterans that put in 26 years in the service? What are they? Chopped liver? It's ludicrous," says John Keene, another disabled veteran.
      So now, disabled vets are banding together again. Deaver is one of about 2,000 - a small army - who is filing suit, alleging that the current law is unconstitutional, and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
      The Pentagon would not talk to NBC News about the lawsuit, but in a statement said it remains "committed to the adequate compensation of retirees."
      That's doublespeak, the veterans say, since the Pentagon has told Congress it is opposed to any change in the current system; too costly it says.



      Follow the fleece


      . May 21, 2001: Blind eye to disabled vets?
      . June 8, 2001: Relief for retired vets?
      . Jan. 31, 2002: Retired, disabled vets to file suit







      "The message I have for the government is if you are gonna treat one set of citizens different than the rest, then you are gonna have to pay the piper," says Piper.
      The old vets like John Deaver just want to be paid their disability and retirement.
      "If they gave me both I'd be sitting here in hog heaven," says Deaver.
      A lawsuit is now Deaver's only hope for the retirement he had dreamed about as a young soldier.





      NBC "Nightly News" home page



      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      Blind eye to disabled veterans?



      Old law prevents some former soldiers from collecting money



      By Fred Francis
      NBC NEWS
      May 21 - It's a real life Catch 22 for American veterans of a special category. They're caught in the jaws of an old law, and they're not getting any help from the military.
















      JOE SCRUGGS, 69, a veteran of two wars, retired not as a hero he says, but as a victim of a callous Pentagon and an uncaring Congress.
      "It ain't fair," says Scruggs. "And the government knows it's not fair."
      Scruggs is 100 percent disabled, lives in a camper and says he can not afford to gas up. He is one of almost half a million disabled vets, fleeced, they say, after serving more than 20 years.
      "We're being discriminated against," says Harold Grimes.
      They include veterans like Grimes, who has his medals from combat time in Vietnam and now suffers from post-traumatic stress and heart problems. He's angry.



      Follow the fleece


      . May 21, 2001: Blind eye to disabled vets?
      . June 8, 2001: Relief for retired vets?
      . Jan. 31, 2002: Retired, disabled vets to file suit







      "We gave most of our adult life to this country and to the people of this country and we feel that we've just been forgotten," says Grimes.
      They are forgotten because of an obscure 100-year-old law that prevents soldiers from collecting retirement pay for more than 20 years of military service as well as veteran's disability compensation.
      For Grimes, it means that his $1,500 a month retirement pay is offset by his monthly $2,200 disability pay, leaving him no retirement income.
      Adding insult to injury, disabled soldiers who later become, for instance, postal workers, park rangers or work for the IRS - completing their careers on another federal job - are able to draw both retirement pay and that military disability compensation.
      Ironically, the toughest opponent of the disabled vets has been the Pentagon. Yes, the Pentagon. When it comes to funding new weapons or old soldiers, the vets lose. And the brass there did not want to talk about it.
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      "They got the money. I know they got the money," says Scruggs. "Why can't they just give it to us?"
      Rep. Mike Bilirikas, R-Fla., has lined up the support of more than two thirds of the House and more than half the Senate, enough, one would think, to help the veterans.
      But the huge price tag that would finally allow disabled veterans to draw both retirement and disability - $40 billion over 10 years - has never come to a vote.
      "It's an insult to the veterans and I don't blame them for being angry about it," says Bilirikas. "It's just appalling."
      "I served in the military for nothing," says Grimes. "For nothing."
      It is an open wound for old soldiers like Grimes and Scruggs who believe they're being fleeced by the nation they fought for, just when they need help the most.
      ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


      Retired, disabled vets to file suit

      Veterans allege violation of American with Disabilities Act

      By Fred Francis
      NBC NEWS

      NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 31 - There is an update on story involving veterans who feel they were fleeced because of a 19th century law affecting their retirement income.















      A CRAMPED OFFICE serves as a recruiting center for soldiers who want to fight. They are retired, disabled soldiers in a legal fight against the very government they served, the government that they say has fleeced them.
      "I thought I had it made," says World War II veteran John Deaver.
      Three decades in uniform left him 100 percent disabled. Deaver receives $2,400 per month in disability payments, but because of a quirky, 19th century law, all of it is then deducted from his retirement pay.
      "I am funding my own disability out of my hard-earned retirement pay," says Deaver.


      Class action suit


      . Click here to learn more about the Military Retired Pay Restoration Act and the related lawsuit.




      Veterans' Voting Bloc, unitedvets.tripod.com

      Had Deaver only finished his career in another branch of the federal government - with the Post Office or the IRS, for instance - he and half a million other disabled vets' retirement pay would remain untouched. And that's discrimination, says Philip Jones, a disabled war veteran who became a lawyer.
      "It violates our rights because they are taking away a percentage of our entitlement that we have earned and they are not taking it away from any other government employee," says Jones.
      NBC News reported on the veterans' plight twice last year. They fought back and lobbied Congress to pass a law that would provide them with their full benefits. But this law must be funded by the administration, which vets say is unlikely.
      Advertisement



      "They can pass all the bills they want to but if they don't fund them they're no good," says disabled veteran Robert Manley.
      "What are the veterans that put in 26 years in the service? What are they? Chopped liver? It's ludicrous," says John Keene, another disabled veteran.
      So now, disabled vets are banding together again. Deaver is one of about 2,000 - a small army - who is filing suit, alleging that the current law is unconstitutional, and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
      The Pentagon would not talk to NBC News about the lawsuit, but in a statement said it remains "committed to the adequate compensation of retirees."
      That's doublespeak, the veterans say, since the Pentagon has told Congress it is opposed to any change in the current system; too costly it says.



      Follow the fleece


      . May 21, 2001: Blind eye to disabled vets?
      . June 8, 2001: Relief for retired vets?
      . Jan. 31, 2002: Retired, disabled vets to file suit







      "The message I have for the government is if you are gonna treat one set of citizens different than the rest, then you are gonna have to pay the piper," says Piper.
      The old vets like John Deaver just want to be paid their disability and retirement.
      "If they gave me both I'd be sitting here in hog heaven," says Deaver.
      A lawsuit is now Deaver's only hope for the retirement he had dreamed about as a young soldier.




      NBC "Nightly News" home page

      ######## End #######

      Thanks

      eric (member)
      veterans_voting_bloc@...
      Fast Attack Web Page #1: http://home.att.net/~veterans_voting_bloc Press
      Release-Concurrent Receipt Class Action Suit
      Fast Attack Web Page #2: http://home.att.net/~pro7 Press Release
      Pass HR303/S170, Military Retired Pay Restoration Act and Fund It.
      (Authorize concurrent receipt of VA Comp + Mil Ret Pay)


















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