Collins Joins Bipartisan Push to Provide Disabled Veterans Full Military Benefits

Bipartisan Major Richard Star Act would allow 42,000 combat-injured veterans to receive both disability compensation and retired pay

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins joined a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the Major Richard Star Act, legislation to provide combat-injured veterans with less than 20 years of military service their full benefits.

 

Currently, military retirees with combat-related injuries qualify for retirement pay for their service. These retirees also qualify for disability compensation for injuries acquired in combat.  However, for retired veterans with less than 20 years of service, roughly 42,000 veterans, their disability pay is deducted from their retirement pay.  The Major Richard Star Act would repeal this unfair offset, allowing this group of disabled veterans to receive both their retirement pay and their disability compensation.

 

“We owe it to our veterans to provide them with the benefits they have earned through their service, particularly during the current public health and economic crisis,” said Senator Susan Collins.  “This bipartisan bill would address an unfair provision in current law that has enormous financial implications for many veterans and their families.  By ensuring that disabled combat veterans are eligible to receive disability benefits and retirement benefits concurrently, we can continue to make progress toward fulfilling our obligation to veterans in Maine and throughout the country who have sacrificed so much for our nation.”

 

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.

 

The Major Richard Star Act received strong backing from leading Veterans Service Organizations including the Military Coalition, the Military Officer Association of America (MOAA), the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).

 

“VVA is in full support of the Major Richard Star Act, which, when enacted, will correct a grave injustice facing those medically retired veterans without 20 years’ service whose military retirement pay is now being reduced by the amount of their disability compensation,” said Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) National President John Rowan. “Military retirement pay and disability compensation are two separate benefits; for those injured in the line of duty, this offset creates an undue financial burden on the family of a disabled veteran. Those injured in defense of the U.S. Constitution have earned these benefits. It is time for Congress to address this injustice and change this law.”

 

“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.”

 

“FRA strongly supports this legislation because is a big step forward in Congress authorizing the immediate payment of concurrent receipt of full military retired pay and veterans’ disability compensation for all disabled retirees, including those who were medically retired with less than 20 years of service,” said Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) Director of Legislative Programs John Davis.

 

Text of the Major Richard Star Act can be found HERE.

 

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