Programs Assist Injured Servicemembers
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jul. 5, 2007 Servicemembers who have suffered serious injuries resulting from their wartime service can get financial help thanks to two congressionally legislated programs, a senior U.S. military officer said July 3.
Congress established the Traumatic Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (TSGLI) program in 2005 in response to the experiences of some former and current military members who found themselves financially strapped after they suffered severe injuries during the war against terrorism. Coverage applies to active-duty and reserve-component members.
“This program provides up to $100,000 per event, depending on (the type of) injury,” Army Col. John Sackett, chief of the Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) and and TSGLI divisions at U.S. Army Human Resources Command, in Alexandria, Va. said during a telephone interview with online journalists and “bloggers.”
All servicemembers covered under the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance program, whether active duty, reserve or National Guard, were enrolled for TSGLI coverage on Dec. 1, 2005.
To date, the Army has paid out a total of more than $126 million under TSGLI, Sackett said.
The TSGLI benefit has both retroactive and prospective aspects, Sackett said. The benefit is provided retroactively for servicemembers who suffered severe combat-zone-related injuries between Oct. 7, 2001, and Dec. 1, 2005, he said. The prospective aspect, he added, applies to servicemembers with injuries received “any time, anywhere” from Dec. 1, 2005, forward.
Currently, TSGLI doesn’t offer compensation for veterans who’ve developed post-traumatic stress disorder as the result of battlefield service, Sackett said. “TSGLI hasn’t allowed for that loss at this point in time,” Sackett said.
Yet, military veterans who suffer from combat-zone-related Post-Traunatic Stress Disorder may be eligible for financial aid under the Combat-Related Special Compensation program, which became effective June 1, 2003, said Sackett.
The Combat-Related Special Compensation program provides compensation for eligible retired veterans with combat-related injuries who have 20 years of military service and have received a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs disability rating of 10 to 100 percent, Sackett said.
There is currently legislation in Congress that would open up eligibility for both programs. More information can be obtained on CRSC at www.crsc.army.mil and on TSGLI at www.tsgli.army.mil.