Diane Morrison 0

VA Recoupment of Disable Veterans SSB/VSI Payments

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Re: Loss of Special Separation Benefit Compensation I am asking that the Department of Defense, Congress and The Department of Veterans Affairs stop the recoupment of Disable Veterans SSB/VSI payments. Investigate and determine how the law applies to those Veterans that did not retire or receive retainers pay. The SSB/VSI payments were incentive payments so that the Department of Defense could drawdown the military. The SSB/VSI payments were not just given to us we had to give up the remaindered of our contractually enlistment obligation, just one of the qualifications to receive the SSB/VSI payments. Dr. Jo Ann Rooney Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense For Personnel and Readiness 1400 Defense Pentagon Washington, DC 20301-1400 Dear Dr. Rooney: I am writing in regards to the Special Separation Benefit (SSB) program, formerly Voluntary Separation Pay program, under 10 U.S.C. 1174a. It is my understanding that despite the name change SSB operates under the same guidelines as the Voluntary Separation Pay program. On August 1, 1995, I separated voluntarily from the United States Army under the SSB program. I was an eligible member that had served on active duty for more than 6 years but less than 20 years. I served 5 years of continuous active duty service prior to separation and had not received any other awards as an incentive to leave the military. I met the requirements such as years of service, grade/rank, and the remaining period of obligated service. Additionally, I had to agree to serve in Ready Reserve for a period of 3 years after my release from active duty. I am in receipt of two honorable discharges, U.S Army 1 August 1995 and U.S. Army Reserve 8 June 1999. It is my belief that VA is in error of recoupment of my SSB payment. The Department of Defense offered the SSB payment as an incentive to drawdown the military. As a recipient of this payment I had to meet eligibility and had to have remaining period of obligated service, which I did and gave up the remainder of my enlistment which was 18 months and was required to service 3 years non-obligated U.S. Army Reserve duty. Now, 15 years later and without any advance notice, I am required to repay the SSB payment by way of my VA compensation. Deep in the midst of economic recession, I cannot currently bare this financial burden. If I have to pay back the SSB payment, who is going to give me back what I gave up for the opportunity to be rewarded the SSB monies that I received? As I stated above, I gave the remaining 18 months of my enlistment that I was obligated by contract with Department of the Army to complete and the required 3 years of reserve duty, which I was not obligated to do at the end of my enlistment. The Department of Defense Financial Management Regulation, volume 7B, chapter 4 covers the recoupment of SSB. Regulations state the members that are affected are “certain members who voluntarily separated before October 1, 1995 (that) received a lump sum special separation benefit (SSB) based on years of service for pay purpose and grade or rank at date of separation.” “Under Recoupment of SSB, It states, “If a member who has received an SSB later qualifies for retired or retainer pay under Titles 10 or 14 of the U.S. Code, the gross amount of SSB received as shown on the member’s DD 214 shall be recouped at a monthly installment from each payment of such retired or retainer pay as specified in section 0409.” I did not retire from the U.S. Amy or the U.S. Army Reserve and I have not qualified for retainer pay. In the Department of Defense Financial Management Regulation, it does not deal with members who did not retire or qualify for retainer pay having the SSB payment recouped. Later, some members did qualify for retirement and retainer pay. It is my belief that the law for the VA to recoup the SSB payments was for those particular members who retired or qualified for retainer pay. As stated above the Voluntary Separation Pay program superseded the SSB. Under recoupment of this program, the Secretary of the Military Department concerned or designee may waive the requirement to repay the voluntary separation pay if it is determined that recovery would be contrary to the best interests of the United States. I am asking that the Secretary of the Military Department concerned or designee grant me this waiver. The SSB/VSP payment was an incentive for the drawdown of the military. I was lead to believe that if I gave up my remainder of my enlistment and obligate myself to 3 years of reserve duty that I was entitled to receive the SSB payment in exchange. Now, the VA wants the SSB payment back for my disability compensation. The SSB money is being offered as an incentive to the men and women of the Uniformed Services to encourage them to leave the military early for the Department of Defense to meet its obligation to drawdown the military. However, VA takes it back to pay our entitlements to VA compensation; how can payment by the government be used to satisfy two different payments? If I have to repay the SSB payment, what did I get from the Department of Defense for my 18 months that remained of my enlistment as well as the 3 years of reserve time? Respectfully Your, Diane Morrison Cc Dr. Clifford L. Stanley, Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) Senator Kay Hagan Governor Bev Perdue

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