Sunday, March 11, 2007

Perspective: Disability ratings vary greatly by service, rank -- depriving some wounded of hundreds of dollars monthly

As a non-commissioned officer, this wounded veteran may get hundreds of dollars less monthly than his counterparts in the Air Force or Navy, or of any commissioned officer.

The Army and Marine Corps, which are bearing the brunt of the burden in Iraq and Afghanistan, tend to give their wounded troops lower disability ratings than the Navy and Air Force, according to Defense Department data.

The result: soldiers and Marines receive an average of several hundred dollars per month less in disability retired pay than sailors and airmen.

Break those numbers down a different way, and the system shows another inequity: All services tend to grant officers disability ratings of 50 percent or higher at a significantly greater rate than enlisted members.

Critics say those figures support their contention that the Army, in particular, purposely tries to hold down costs by giving low ratings to enlisted soldiers who far outnumber officers going through the lengthy, convoluted system.

Read the rest at the Marine Corps Times