Many veterans aren’t comfortable talking about their time in uniform. The things they did, saw, and overheard stick with them forever. Nightmares, discomfort in crowded situations, being on guard all the time, and distrust of others can be some of the many issues that can arise when leaving their service and coming home. Many of them never “come home” even after they return.
For people like retired Special Forces Master Sergeant Leo Skinner, talking about benefits for his 21 years of service is especially difficult. “To sit here and enjoy those benefits, and enjoy my freedoms, and know that they’re not receiving those, that makes me pretty emotional because I know they deserve it.” Now, he’s back for another push behind the Major Richard Star Act.
Currently, to receive both full retirement and disability pay, servicemembers must serve at least 20 years in uniform. This Act would change the law, and while it was introduced last year, it never made it to the floor to be heard for a vote. “It was disappointing to see that it didn’t pass because there are, Kentucky in particular, there are nearly 1,000 medical retirees with combat-related injuries that would benefit from this.”
While three of Skinner’s KY representatives- Thomas Massie. Morgan McGarvey, and Andy Barr- have all publicly supported the bill, Skinner knows he needs more to make a real difference. Especially if he can get Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul to publicly endorse it he’ll have a better chance of something being done.
“I think it’s crucial because Senator McConnell is as we know the Senate minority leader. He’s well-established in D.C. His voice, it matters. So does Senator Paul’s voice, it matters. They’re both very well-known individuals. It carries a lot of weight. I think their co-sponsorship of this is extremely important. Not just for lack of better terms, giving it lip service. Their name needs to be on the line.”
Having their endorsement would be huge. As Skinner even acknowledges, there are no plans to pay for the increase in benefits for vets, but he knows options exist. He wants to see both chambers step up and take action when they return from their break in mid-September. With the Act already having 71 Senators openly supporting it and 75% of Congress offering the same, it should pass with ease.
The real hold-up here comes from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Without Joe Biden passing word along to his flunkies that they need to support this, they will do and have done everything they can to stop it from being heard. They don’t want to see what’s best for veterans to happen. Instead, they expect them to simply suffer while they waste billions on their pet projects that don’t help the nation or its best and brightest.
Veteran’s benefits are already incredibly difficult to obtain. Even getting a diagnosis and compensation for something like PTSD is incredibly difficult. The number of appointments, misguided diagnosis, and poor testing is incredible. While going through the testing, they aren’t compensated, and the amount of time it can take can exceed well over a year.
Given how low the VA disability is and how complicated the math is for computing it, allowing veterans to receive retirement pay without hitting the full 20 can help with the increased costs of living that have come due to Bidenflation, and it can help cover some of the ground disability doesn’t account for in benefits.
To the average civilian, this might not make much sense, but when you spend 10 years serving your country, survive being blown up, shot at, and seeing your buddies die, it becomes a real bitch when the VA denies PTSD claims and some snot-nosed 27 year old tells you your experience leading troops doesn’t count for management experience. This is just one area where retirement benefits could be a huge help.