Back payments doled out to retirees

By Tom Philpott: Military Update A small group of disabled military retirees this month will be the first of 133,000 to receive lump-sum back payments, which are tied to start-up challenges for two “concurrent receipt” programs enacted since 2003. That’s according to officials with the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). The trickle of back […]

Federal workers see exponential wage increases

By Freedom Newspapers Here’s an easy way to double your salary: Go to work for the U.S. government. GovExec.com reported earlier this month that in 2005 average compensation for federal employees was “double that of private sector workers for the first time,” according to figures released by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. […]

Retirees hoping for back pay

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Retired Army Staff Sgt. Daniel F. Purinton, 71, has argued for almost two years that the Department of Veterans Affairs owes him an additional $8,044. Purinton said the underpayment occurred as Department of Defense and VA officials implemented a complex series of laws, starting in 2003, to end for many […]

Salary/benefits spike put leaders out of touch

Freedom Newspapers An alarming study by the libertarian Cato Institute suggests that a new class is being created in America — a government working elite with special privileges, quickly outpacing the private sector in the salaries and benefits it receives. The study found that average federal government workers’ total compensation — salary and benefits — […]

Disabled veterans program mismanaged

By Tom Philpott: Military Update The Department of Veterans Affairs mismanages its program for rating disabled veterans as “unemployable,” according to a new report by congressional auditors. Because of weak oversight of Individual Unemployability (IU) benefits, some veterans get more compensation than warranted, and the VA is ineffective in moving seriously disabled veterans toward productive […]

Lawmakers shouldn’t sneak compensation

By Ned Cantwell: State columnist There he sits, does Bulldog Bill, glowering. Looking every bit like the mascot on the beer can. The governor is not a happy man. The Legislature has done him wrong. There is, however, just the tease of a wry smile as Gov. Bill Richardson awaits legislative bills requiring his signed […]

State involvement could improve protection act

Freedom Newspapers Another year, another stab at re-writing the Endangered Species Act. Last year, the House of Representatives actually managed to pass a bill containing some promising provisions, including one requiring that compensation be paid to people whose property values are diminished by a federal listing. Now the action moves to the U.S. Senate — […]

Genetics won’t touch disability benefits

By Tom Philpott The Veterans’ Disability Benefits Commission unanimously has voted that a veteran’s genetic makeup, which might show predisposition to certain illnesses before entering service, is not a reasonable topic for the commission to study in its review of “service connection” and disability payments. During an Oct. 14 public hearing in Washington, D.C., the […]

Military Coalition leery of changing system

Tom Philpott: Military Update The Military Coalition, a powerful league of 35 service associations and veterans’ organizations, has warned a blue ribbon panel studying military compensation to be wary of claims by senior Defense officials and outside economists that service pay and benefits need business-like reforms. Coalition representatives testified on Wednesday before the Defense Advisory […]

Compensation reviews cause more stress

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Ronald Nesler of Las Cruces, a Vietnam veteran rated 100-percent disabled by post-traumatic stress disorder, learned this month that his case, as decided in 1997 by the Department of Veterans Affairs, lacked documents to support the finding of service-connected PTSD. The VA regional office in Albuquerque advised Nesler in an […]