20 February 2003
The Honorable Harry Reid
United States Senate
528 Hart Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Reid:
On behalf of the 135,000 members of the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA), I am writing to express strong support for legislation you are again sponsoring to correct the inequitable law that reduces earned retired pay for disabled military retirees by the amount of disability compensation they receive from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Your bill would end the practice of requiring disabled retirees to fund their own disability compensation. Some retirees must now forfeit all or most of their military retired pay to receive the same disability compensation paid to similarly disabled veterans with fewer years of service.
These programs are separate and distinct. Retired pay is earned income paid in recognition of a career in the uniformed services, while disability compensation is paid for pain, suffering and loss of earnings from service connected disabilities. FRA understands the challenge of funding the legislation and believes the cost to be a necessary investment that is long overdue.
Your continuing leadership on this issue reflects a strong commitment to the men and women serving our great Nation and those who've served in the past.
The Association salutes you for your efforts and is committed to working toward enactment of this important legislation.
JOSEPH L. BARNES
National Executive Secretary