Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Senator Kennedy Backs Bipartisan Effort to Secure Full Benefits for Combat-Injured Veterans

by BIZ Magazine

Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) has joined forces with Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) in supporting the Major Richard Star Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at ensuring combat-injured veterans with less than 20 years of military service receive full retirement benefits concurrently with their disability compensation.

The Major Richard Star Act addresses a longstanding issue that affects veterans who have sacrificed for their country but face challenges in obtaining both retirement and disability compensation. The proposed legislation seeks to rectify this by allowing combat-injured veterans with fewer than 20 years of military service to receive their full retirement benefits without any reduction while concurrently receiving disability compensation.

Kennedy emphasized the importance of providing comprehensive benefits to combat veterans, stating, “Louisiana and America’s brave veterans are underserved because they’re not able to receive both retirement and disability compensation. It is only right that our combat veterans are able to retire peacefully with full benefits for their sacrifices.”

Under the current system, only veterans with over 20 years of military service and a disability rating of 50% or more are eligible to receive Department of Defense retirement and Department of Veterans Affairs disability payments simultaneously.

Senator Tester expressed his commitment to ensuring veterans receive their entitled benefits, particularly those forced to retire due to combat-related injuries. Referring to the Major Richard Star Act as a top priority, Tester pledged to advocate for its passage and uphold the dignity and benefits deserving of veterans.

The Major Richard Star Act derives its name from Major Richard Star, a decorated war veteran who retired due to combat-related injuries and subsequently passed away from cancer in 2021. Senator Crapo highlighted the significance of the legislation, noting that over 50,000 veterans, including hundreds in Idaho, stand to benefit from its enactment.

“To honor the service of all veterans and Major Star’s enduring legacy, we must meet the responsibility of ensuring these combat-injured veterans receive the full benefits they have earned. Reducing retirement pay because of a combat disability is an injustice that must be corrected,” said Crapo.

The Major Richard Star Act underscores the bipartisan commitment to rectifying an injustice that has hindered thousands of combat-injured veterans from accessing the benefits they earned through their dedicated service. The full text of the bill is available here.

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