Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Louisiana Good Idea, Poor Execution

The State of Louisiana had a good idea when the bill was passed, but it was poorly written and
now veterans are suing the state to receive the benefits.

In 2007 the Legislature decided to pay a grant to members of the Louisiana State National Guard that
were permanently disabled following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks $100,000.

So far only one disabled veteran is scheduled to receive the payment out of the twelve that have
applied to receive the benefit.

It seems that the way the law is written a person has to be declared 100 percent totally and
permanently disabled within one year. If the original decision from the Department of Veterans
Affairs is not at that time totally and permanently disabled, that their is the possibility of recovery
the claim is rejected.

So, if the veteran disputes the VA ruling, and is later declared as being totally and permanently
disabled; that ruling must be within year of the original date of the claim to the state.

Since the VA often takes so much time to process claims and appeals the one year time limit
is usually not soon enough to enable the veteran to receive his benefit.

The Legislature also directed the state to pay $250,000 to families of those killed in action.

 $9.65 million has been set aside for these benefits, with the largest part at least $8 Million is
set for the death benefit.

There was also a problem with the death benefits portion of the original bill, which families
fought to have corrected. As originally written the bill omitted soldiers wounded or killed
between Sept. 11, 2001 and July 6, 2007. This summer the Governor signed a law to
correct the oversight.

Veterans are now suing the state to receive their benefits, and have the law changed to allow
more time for filling a corrected decision from the VA that says they are 100 percent totally
and permanently disabled.

We hope that the state changes the law very soon and shows true support of our troops and
veterans.

Jerald Terwilliger
National Chairman
American Cold War Veterans
"We Remember"

---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996