Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 |
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Our disabled veterans are grossly undercompensated. The consequences for all of us could be dire.
In 2022, a totally disabled veteran with no dependents is compensated at the ridiculous rate of $39,984.72 dollars annually. The National Average Wage Index (NAWI) for 2020 was $55,628.60 dollars per annum and the median income for 2020 was $67,521.00. The per capita GDP in 2020 was $63,416.00 dollars, among the highest in the world. This rate of compensation to disabled veterans is deliberate and cruel.
They have been asking various Administrations and Congresses for fair compensation since the end of World War I in November 1918. That was 103 years ago.
Where is proper compensation for them? Is it ever coming? Do we make them wait another century?
In my opinion the basic reason for their gross under compensation situation is because they are only compensated for projected loss of wages due to their disabilities. They are not compensated for their low quality of life. “Quality of Life” compensation has been routine now in the U.S. courts in awarding personal injury compensation to injured parties for over 50 years at least. Why is it not awarded to injured veterans?
I ask Congress to pass legislation this year to compensate them fairly, especially the totally and permanently disabled among them who should be compensated at least at the level of the NAWI.
This is now a grave national security problem.
Once there is full realization among our youth that serious injury or illness in the armed forces almost guarantees a lifetime of near poverty the armed forces will collapse. In truth, this has already started to happen.
It is long past time for Congress to finally compensate these broken former troops fairly. To do less is to invite a national defense nightmare that frankly I do not think our nation is prepared to endure or accept as reasonable.
Congress must finally pay them fairly this year.
Leanora Wattanabe is a resident of Hilo