Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Monday, August 21, 2006

VA Issues: 70's LAW COSTS 61,000 MILITARY WIDOWS THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN SURVIVOR BENEFITS

As many as 61,000 military widows whose husbands died of causes relating to their military service lose out on thousands of dollars a year in survivor benefits because of a law that dates from the 1970's.

The New York Times
By: Lizette Alvarez
August 19, 2006

Widows and retirees have spent decades trying to persuade Congress to change the law, which hits hardest at the widows of lower-ranking service members and is referred to by many as the "widow's tax."

***That's because this Republican White House and Congress hate entitlements! Did they forget that "benefits" is one of the reasons that these veterans went to serve their country in the first place for? But yet, they'll give the upper 1%, what I like to call, entitlements for being "rich!"

The Senate passed such a change last year and again this year as part of the military authorization bill. But House Republican leaders oppose the change because of its steep price tag, nearly $9B over 10 years, Senate legislative aides from both parties say. A change was not in the military bill that passed the House, but lawmakers who support the change are hoping to make it part of the bill's final version, which is now being worked on by a bipartisan Congressional connittee.

***Leave it to Frist, that's why he needs to go. He's a lapdog for the Bush administration. As for the House! I don't know who Hastert is trying to impress. He's as phoney as they come and is another lapdog for the White House. He's only getting desperate to win his seat back. Never believe what Hastert says or does during an election year. The White has gotten everything that they wanted from Hastert since Bush took over the White House. Why is Hastert going to change now? HE'S NOT! Hastert thinks that just because the mainstream media says he's against something, that he won't allow it to happen. It makes it "appear" that Hastert might be working for "the people." Get this: HE'S NOT! NEVER HAS WORKED FOR "THE PEOPLE" AND HE "NEVER WILL." Until something is signed and it actually legislation, don't believe Hastert!

"My husband thought he was securing my future," said Edie Smith, a member of the Gold Star Wives, a group of military widows who are lobbying to change the law. "He didn't realize that his own disability would void the benefit he purchased for me."

A 1972 law created the Survivor Benefits Plan, a Department of Defense retirement income fund similar to a life insurance policy. The plan, in turn, pays benefits calculated according to a dead service member's rank and length of service.

In addition, widows of veterans who died of service-related causes receive monthly cash stipends from the Dept of Veterans Affairs. Known as the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation stipend, it is currently $1,033 plus $257 for each child.

But under the law, which placed restrictions on the plan that it created, the payment to widows enrolled in the Survivor Benefits Plan is reduced, dollar for dollar, by the amount of the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation stipened.

For example, a widow who would be entitled to $1,000 from the Survivor Benefits Plan and the $1,033 Dependency and Indemnity stipened receives $1,033, not $2,033.

***Leave it to the Republican Bush administration to find a way to take away from our military widows to find a way to keep giving money to the rich!

Widows whose husband paid into the plan are reimbursed their premiums, without interest, but the amount is taxed and does not make up for the losses from the plan.

***I hope that our troops' realize that the Bush administration is going to find a way to take away all of the benefits that they signed up in the first place for!

The D.O.D. opposes changing the law to allow both payments, arguing that survivors should not receive 2 seperate benefits from a single death.

UNBELIEVABLE!

But widows and their supporters say the Pentagon's opposition to a change in the law really stems from its cost, especially at a time of rising expenses for the war in Iraq.

They also argue that because service members paid into the Survivors Benefits Plan, its benefits should not be reduced.

"If you take one benefit from another, you don't leave the survivor with very much," said Col. Lee Lange, the deputy director of government relations for the influential Military Officers Association of America, which has made this issue a priority. "These are widows. Let them collect both."

Juan del Castillo, a retired Coast Guard commander who has been paying into the plan since 1972, accused the Pentagon of "stealing money from widows."

"They are financing their operation from money stolen from military widows," Mr. Castillo said. "They have been doing this since 1972."

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FLA), who has pushed for five years to change the law, said he has allies in the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator John W. Warner (R-VA), and the committee's ranking Democrat, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan. The $9B price tag needed to insure a full payout under both plans sounds expensive, Mr. Nelson said, but is less then the price of a single aircraft carrier.

***It doesn't matter how many allies you have. This Congress ad its committees are all Republican-run. And if the White House wants something, they "are" going to get it. That's why the Congress needs to be balanced out this election season. WE NEED TO STOP THE INSANITY COMING FROM THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION BEFORE HE TAKES US ALL TO OUR DEATHS!

"Widows and orphans are made as a result of war," he said. "They are victims of war. They are giving the ultimate sacrifice, and the nation has an obligation to care for them."

In the last 2 years, Congress has passed several bills to ease restriction in the Survivor Benefits Plan. It ended a reduction in benefits to widows who reached the age of 62. And in 2003, as more and more women were widowed because of the war in Iraq, Congress decided to allow those whose husbands died after Nov. 23, 2003, to receive money from both funds by designating surviving children of wives as beneficiaries. But that does not affect the vast number of the 61,000 widows whose husbands died before that date.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CALIF) does not support the change in this year's military authorization bill. But he has said Congress is doing right by the widows, Pointing out that last year it approved significant increases in life insurance payout and death benefits.

That "should have been done a long time ago," Mr. Hunter said.

***Another Hastert! You can't beleive anything he has to say either!

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