Sunday, February 25, 2007

Army holding down disability ratings

The Army is deliberately shortchanging troops on their disability retirement ratings to hold down costs, according to veterans’ advocates, lawyers and services members, and the Inspector General has identified 87 problems in the system that need fixing.

Read about the IG report

“These people are being systematically underrated,” said Ron Smith, deputy general counsel for Disabled American Veterans. “It’s a bureaucratic game to preserve the budget, and it’s having an adverse affect on service members.”

Read

The numbers of people approved for permanent or temporary disability retirement in the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force have stayed relatively stable since 2001.

But in the Army — in the midst of a war — the number of soldiers approved for permanent disability retirement has plunged by more than two-thirds, from 642 in 2001 to 209 in 2005, according to a Government Accountability Office report last year. That decline has come even as the war in Iraq has intensified and the total number of soldiers wounded or injured there has soared above 15,000.

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