Veterans Finding Out They Owe Thousands Of Dollars To Government For Program They Didn’t Even Know About
Veterans are being sent letters that they'll have to start paying money out of their monthly entitlements for combat-related disabilities because they're enrolled in a Survivor Benefit Plan.
The New York Times:
Veterans Owe The D.O.D. Thousands For Survivor Benefits. Why Can’t They Opt Out?
On an afternoon in late February, Staff Sgt. John Daniel Shannon, who goes by Dan, got in his truck and drove down the dirt road near his house in Westcliffe, Colo., to meet his son’s school bus at the bottom of the hill. It is one of few tasks Dan, who is 54 and retired, can still manage on his own after being wounded in Iraq in 2004. As he waited, he checked his mailbox, where he found a letter addressed to him from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, an office within the Defense Department. When he opened the letter, his stomach dropped. It said Dan owed the government money for something called the Survivor Benefit Plan and that the department would start deducting the program premiums from his monthly entitlement for combat-related disabilities. The notice also said he owed $23,451 in unpaid premiums, plus interest, that he was expected to pay. (Jerving, 6/20)
In other news from the administration —
The New York Times:
Disability Applications Plunge As The Economy Strengthens
The number of Americans seeking Social Security disability benefits is plunging, a startling reversal of a decades-old trend that threatened the program’s solvency. It is the latest evidence of a stronger economy pulling people back into the job market or preventing workers from being sidelined in the first place. The drop is so significant that the agency has revised its estimates of how long the program will continue to be financially secure. This month, the government announced that the program would not run out of money until 2032, four years later than its previous estimate last year. Two years ago, the government had warned that the funds might be depleted by 2023. (Schwartz, 6/19)