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Lawmaker: Give Disabled Soldiers Lump-Sum Benefit

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NU Online News Service, March 4, 2005, 3:45 p.m. EST

Some members of Congress want to beef up cash payments for seriously wounded military personnel as well as for service members who die.[@@]

Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., says she is looking into the possibility of proposing legislation that would offer service members who suffer severe disabilities as a result of their service a lump-sum payment comparable to the kind of payment that beneficiaries of service members who die in combat get through the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance program.

Sanchez notes that bills already introduced would increase the lump-sum death benefit that the government pays all soldiers’ beneficiaries to $100,000, from $12,000, and that other bills would raise the SGLI coverage limit.

“The rationale is exactly the same as the death benefit–and is, in some ways, even more compelling,” Sanchez says in a statement about the need for a lump-sum disability benefit. “The money would help ameliorate the transition to a life of painful struggle for the soldier and his family. It could pay off debts, provide a foundation of savings, offset the loss of income during the long period of therapy, purchase time off work for a spouse or parents, and give the disabled troop a head start on a hard road. Unlike the survivors of a deceased soldier, the family of the disabled gets zero life insurance, and they have to adjust to caring for the wounded.”