Disabled Veterans Tax
Military retirees with service-connected disabilities continue to have their Defense Department retired pay reduced by the amount of disability compensation that they receive from the Department of Veterans Affairs. If these veterans left the military after they incurred their service-connected disabilities, and retired from any other federal agency except a branch of the U.S. armed forces, they would receive both retired pay and disability compensation in full.
Service-connected military retirees make a sacrifice that no other service-connected federal retiree makes. It is a circumstance brought about by a century-old law. Congress has nibbled at the edges to change the law in fiscal year 2002 and 2003, but left the vast majority, those with less than 50 percent disability, with this unfair tax.
Creating a two-tiered benefits system that favors one group of service-disabled military retirees over another is not the answer. Creating a commission to study VA’s disability compensation system – a system that requires medical evidence to prove a claim and is scrutinized by congressional Veteran’s Affairs committees, an appeals process and a federal court – is not the answer. The answer is to repeal the tax for all service-disability military retirees. The American Legion will continue to fight for the removal of the disabled veterans tax for ALL service-connected disabled military retirees.
The American Legion believes that our nation’s 10 million veterans on Medicare should be allowed to apply their Medicare benefits toward health care in the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system. Today, a veteran on Medicare can use his or her benefit just about anywhere except the VA, where quality health care can be attained for far less than it can be acquired in the private sector. The American Legion will continue to fight for “Medicare subvention” legislation to allow Medicare-eligible veterans the right to use Medicare to cover the costs of health care at the VA.
Flag Protection Amendment
Legionnaires are among a majority of American voters who regard the American Flag as an emblem of freedom and as the legitimate symbol of our great nation, which is worthy of a special place in our society. The American Legion supports a constitutional amendment to protect “Old Glory” from intentional physical desecration. The proposed amendment has passed six times in the U.S. House of Representatives, only to fall short in the Senate. A two-thirds majority in both chambers would send the proposed amendment to the states for ratification.
The proposed 28th Amendment says, “The Congress shall have the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the Flag of the United States.” Numerous public opinion surveys show the vast majority of Americans support the amendment. Legislatures in all 50 states have passed memorializing resolutions in support of a flag-protection amendment to the Constitution.