Veteran’s need to know the facts

Dear Editor: Mr. John R. Hunter of Lampasas wrote a Letter to the Editor that was published in your Friday, July 11 edition. Your headline for that letter read, ‘Are Republicans against disabled veterans’ Mr. Hunter referred to the dollar-for-dollar reduction of military retirement pay for veterans’ disability pay as a ‘Veterans Disability Tax,’ and he accused the Republican leadership in the United States Congress of perpetuating that situation. I do not have any information on the political posturing in Congress, but I disagree with his characterization of the dollar-for-dollar reduction as a tax. Since I am a tax professional, I am familiar with the tax consequences of exchanging disability pay for retirement pay. The fact is that veterans’ disability pay is not subject to federal income tax, but military retirement pay is subject to that tax. In essence, Mr. Hunter and other veterans in his situation are actually receiving the disability pay portion of their retirement tax-free! Rather than being victims of an additional tax, they are receiving a well deserved tax break. I am a Vietnam veteran who is lucky not to have been disabled. I have the utmost respect for those who have made military service their career and especially those who have been seriously injured during that service. I fully support their receiving all of the benefits to which they are entitled. Unfortunately, there are many veterans who feel that the government and the general public owe them total support for the balance of their lives, and some who always want something more than that which has been afforded to them by Congress. I hope that the public does not see them as being representative of all veterans. M. Richard ‘Rick’ Melcer Brady, Tex.

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