Saturday, August 19, 2006

House Repuglicans Support Pentagon Stealing From Vets' Widows


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 Department 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 stipend.

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

But widows and their supporters say that 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.

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 that since 1972."

This is very similar to the law that deducts disability payments from retired military personnel's pensions. Despicable cheap shit.

In other, unrelated news: tax cuts for the rich continue apace, as do subsidies for the poor little oil and pharmaceutical companies as well as the rising cost of a failed criminal occupation in Iraq. Screw widows and orphans.

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