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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Committee, joined VA Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) and VA Committee Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-KS) in introducing the Major Richard Star Act, bipartisan legislation to provide combat-injured veterans with less than 20 years of military service their full benefits.
“Military retirement pay and disability payments are two completely different benefits. One should not diminish the merits of the other, but veterans are being denied their rightfully earned retirement pay because they incurred a disability as a result of combat action,” said Senator Cramer. “Our bipartisan legislation fixes this discrepancy, allowing veterans to receive the full benefits they have earned and deserve.”
Roughly 42,000 military retirees with combat-related injuries qualify for retirement pay from the Department of Defense (DoD) for their service and for disability compensation for injuries acquired in combat from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, for retired veterans with less than 20 years of service, their disability pay is deducted from their retirement pay.
The Major Richard Star Act would repeal this offset, allowing disabled veterans to receive both their retirement pay and their disability compensation. It is named in honor of Major Richard A. Star, a father, husband, and decorated war veteran who was medically retired as a result of combat-related injuries and lost his battle with cancer on February 13, 2021. The bill is endorsed by leading Veterans Service Organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Military Coalition, Military Officer Association of America (MOAA).
Senator Cramer, Chairman Tester, and Ranking Member Moran are joined on this bill by Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Robert Casey (D-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Margaret Wood Hassan (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), John Hoeven (R-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Partrick Leahy (D-VT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Edward Markey (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Rob Portman (R-OH), James Risch (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).