Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

JWV Condemns Military Pay System That Causes Appalling Debt for Wounded Soldiers

Spring 2006

According to a recently released study by the Government Accountability Office, "Pay problems rooted in the complex, cumbersome processes used to pay Army soldiers from their initial mobilization through active duty deployment to demobilization have generated military debts." Of the nearly 1,300 separated Army GWOT (Global War on Terrorism) soldiers injured or killed during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan as of September 30, 2005, almost 900 battle-injured soldiers had incurred debts totaling $1.2 million. The Jewish War Veterans of the USA (JWV) rejects any system that causes such hardships for those brave men and women, many of whom are ripped from their civilian employment when their National Guard and reserve units are activated for service in the GWOT. These soldiers, who are defending the American people and way of life in this global conflict, are often forced to face not only debilitating wounds, but also the loss of their good credit, and, in some cases, the specter of collection agencies, as a result of outmoded and cumbersome payment processes beyond their control. While they offer their bodies and lives, our government continues business as usual, where the dollar counts for more than the lives. In a recent release, the JWV has called for "local and state officials to waive property tax collections for activated Army National Guard and United States Army Reserve personnel until they are relieved of active duty, thus alleviating the financial pressures on the families of these patriots." Even more necessary is reform of the military pay system that is the cause of often burdensome debt. While Congress has recently passed legislation to cancel some GWOT debts, the legislation does not extend to those who were separated from service more than one year ago and is scheduled to expire in 2007. The JWV urges the Department of Defense to ensure that the military pay system is reformed and that those who have given of themselves to defend and protect their country no longer face the specter of oppressive debt. Our soldiers deserve better than this. The JWV will continue to monitor this situation to ensure that they are freed from this burden. Debt relief is cardinal to morale.

 

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