Congressional compensation needs cutting

At least one group of Americans has been profiting despite the faltering economy: members of the U.S. House of Representatives. They’re supposed to be the part of the government that’s “closest to the people.” But as the saying has it, they came to do good and stayed to do well. In their cases, mostly very […]

Compensation for vets expanded

More than 84,000 Vietnam veterans afflicted with heart disease, Parkinson’s disease or B-cell leukemia are drawing disability compensation today thanks to a decision by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to expand the list of ailments presumed caused by exposure to herbicides, including Agent Orange, used during that war. Another 74,000 veterans have claims pending, […]

Press release: Udall urges troops and veterans to claim stop loss compensation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Udall, D-N.M., is urging active duty service members, veterans, and beneficiaries of service members who were involuntarily extended between September 11, 2001 and September 30, 2009, to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay. Under the 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Act, compensation is available to service members of every military […]

DoD launches compensation study

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist Military compensation is far different today than it was on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked America. As U.S. troops surged into Afghanistan and, 17 months later, invaded Iraq, Congress began pumping a stream of piecemeal improvements into pay and benefits. That continues, though the flow of new initiatives has […]

Experts: Military pay gap no longer exists

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Every witness before a Senate subcommittee hearing last week on military compensation — all experts on service pay and benefits — called directly or indirectly for Congress to end its 12-year run of voting for annual military pay raises that exceed wage growth in the private sector. No witness suggested […]

Group, worker suing state for workers compensation benefits

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By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer New Mexico is hearing a debate over whether agriculture workers need to be included in the state-run workers compensation system. A group of civil rights organizations is suing to have New Mexico agricultural workers included. However, many in the agriculture industry have said their employees are already covered and […]

VA not ready to back disabled pay

By Tom Philpott: Military update Monthly compensation the Department of Veterans Affairs pays to veterans with service-connected disabilities is intended to replace average earnings loss due to injuries or ailments. But should VA also pay disabled veterans something extra for diminished quality of life? Two prominent commissions in 2007 said it should. Last week, however, […]

Another gaffe in retro pay project

By Tom Philpott: Syndicated columnist As many as 39,000 disabled military retirees have been left out of the VA Retro Pay program by mistake, say officials at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) who are calculating the amount of money owed. This latest and perhaps most serious gaffe in the problem-plagued VA Retro Pay […]

Study: No gap between military and civilian pay

By Tom Philpott A new Department of Defense study of military compensation finds no pay gap exists today between service members and civilian peers. But the study, conducted over the last two years, advises Defense leaders to adopt a new tool for comparing military and private sector compensation so that service members learn to appreciate […]

2008 Basic Allowance for Housing set

By Tom Philpott Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) paid to service members living off base in stateside areas will climb an average of 7.3 percent next month to keep pace with local rental costs. A total of 1.2 million service members will draw BAH in 2008, an increase of 250,000 over 2007, said Susan A. […]