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April 07, 2022

King Cosponsors Bill Seeking to Provide Full Military Benefits for Disabled Veterans

Bipartisan legislation would halt practice of deducting benefits from retirement payments for younger injured soldiers, sailors, airmen and guardians

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation to help provide more disabled veterans with full military benefits. The Major Richard Star Act, which is supported by a bipartisan group of 58 Senators, would provide combat-injured veterans with less than 20 years of military service their full benefits instead of deducting their disability pay from retirement payments.

America’s disabled veterans have made extraordinary sacrifices for our country and our freedoms. They deserve our thanks, and they certainly deserve the full benefits they’ve earned,” said Senator King. “The Major Richard Star Act would ensure that these heroes who were wounded while serving receive the proper care and support, without costing them the pay they earned through a medical retirement This bipartisan legislation will bring us closer to fulfilling our nation’s bedrock commitment to our servicemembers, and I hope it passes through Congress swiftly.”

Currently, 42,000 military retirees with combat-related injuries qualify for retirement pay for their service from the Department of Defense (DoD) and for disability compensation for injuries acquired in combat from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, for retired veterans with less than 20 years of service, their disability pay is deducted from their retirement pay. The Major Richard Star Act would repeal this unfair offset, allowing disabled veterans to receive both their retirement pay and their disability compensation. The bill is named in honor of Major Richard A. Star—a father, husband, and decorated war veteran who, as a result of his combat-related injuries, was medically retired. Major Star sadly lost his battle with cancer on February 13, 2021.

“Disabled veterans who are entitled to VA compensation due to their service-connected conditions and retired military pay for their service to this country deserve to receive both, without any offsets,” said DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director Randy Reese. “DAV supports the Major Richard Star Act to repeal the offset between VA disability compensation and DoD medical retirement pay, just as we support the Retired Pay Restoration Act, which would eliminate the remaining offsets for longevity retired pay and disability compensation.”

“Retirement pay and VA disability compensation are two distinct and separate benefits that veterans earn through their service,” said National Commander of The American Legion James W. “Bill” Oxford. “However, these two benefits have been unjustly tied together to reduce costs. Current law requires that these benefits offset one another by reducing retirement pay for every dollar of disability received. The Major Richard Star Act is a vital step in the right direction but there is more to be done to solve the issue of concurrent receipt once and for all. The American Legion is proud to support this legislation and calls for this bill to be swiftly passed through Congress.”

Representing one of the states with the highest rates of veterans per capita, Senator King has been a staunch advocate for America’s servicemembers and veterans. Earlier this week, he introduced the Honoring Purple Heart Recipients Act of 2022 to recognize the sacrifices of Purple Heart medal recipients. King has worked to honor and preserve the stories of America’s veterans with his Answering the Call interview series in partnership with the Library of Congress. He also recently introduced the Save Our Servicemembers (S.O.S.) Act, which would work to improve Department of Defense’s servicemember suicide prevention efforts, and has worked to improve the services for Maine veterans across the state, including at the Togus campus in Augusta.

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