On October 11, 2017, Representative Ruben Gallego (AZ) introduced H.R. 4016, the Restore Veterans Compensation Act of 2017. This bill aims to eliminate the Department of Veterans Affairs policy of recouping the separation pay, special separation benefits, and voluntary separation incentive payments from veterans who are receiving disability compensation. It also seeks to impose limitations on the authority of the Secretary of Defense to recover such pay from eligible service members’ military retirement pay or retainer pay by requiring retirees to only repay the net amount of separation pay instead of the gross amount and allowing the Department of Defense (DoD) a maximum recoupment rate of 25 percent of a veteran’s paycheck, instead of the current 40 percent.
Many service members qualify for separation pay when they leave the military. Often, service members’ separation is not voluntary and due to no fault of their own. If they have more than six years of service and meet the requirements of reenlistment, but are not allowed to reenlist they may receive separation pay. The DoD has used separation pay as an incentive to service members to leave the military to downsize its workforce. Unfortunately, under current law, these same veterans are required to pay back this money if they later receive VA disability compensation pay or DoD retirement pay.
DAV Resolution No. 098 states that DAV supports legislation to clarify that Special Separation Benefits (SSB) are in no way related to a veteran’s service-connected disability benefits and therefore should not be recouped from VA disability compensation payments.
Please use the prepared letter to write to your Representative to cosponsor and support passage of H.R. 4016, the Restore Veterans Compensation Act of 2017. Thank you for your efforts and support of the Commander’s Action Network.
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