Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) voted in support of legislation today that will allow disabled military retirees to concurrently receive both their retired pay from the Department of Defense (DoD) and their disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  H.R. 2990, the Disabled Military Retiree Relief Act of 2009, passed the House today by a vote of 404-0.

“Our veterans have dedicated their lives to our country, and they deserve to receive the benefits they have earned,” said Congressman Adam Smith.  “While this is a step in the right direction, we must go further.  Expanding concurrent receipt to all military retirees remains a priority for me in Congress.  In the months ahead, I will continue working with my colleagues to achieve this goal.”

This legislation temporarily allows Chapter 61 retirees who are rated 100% disabled, 100% disabled by reason of being unemployable, or 90% disabled to receive full concurrent receipt of their DoD and VA benefits from January 1, 2010 until September 30, 2010.

Due to required budget offsets, finding funds to permanently expand concurrent receipt to all military retirees has been extremely difficult.  However, this bill contains the framework to extend the eligibility period and expand eligibility to those Chapter 61 retirees with a disability rating of less than 90% in the future.  Congress will utilize this framework to work toward a permanent solution in the months ahead.

The bill must now be approved by the Senate before it can be signed into law by the President