The Daily Gamecock

Military personnel deserve more benefits

Former Seal Team 6 member's story highlights need for veteran reform

The men and women in uniform are some of the most courageous and heroic people the United States has to offer. However, a disturbing story came out recently that highlighted the plight of many retired military personnel who were not enlisted long enough to receive lifetime benefits.

This particular story revolves around the man who allegedly shot Osama Bin Laden, and his life post–military service. “The shooter,” as the article on Esquire calls him, is jobless and has no pension or protection for his family. This highlights a serious problem with the way our benefits system is set up for veterans in this country, exposing a serious lack of common sense.

Obviously, it would be impossible to guarantee full pensions to every veteran, regardless of time served. However, “the shooter” and all of Navy SEAL Team 6 deserve better treatment from the government. These men are national heroes. The members of Navy SEAL Team 6 put their lives in grave danger to execute the mission. The very least this country could do is make an exception to normal military retirement rules and offer these men pensions and healthcare to ensure them a stable future for a job well done. Usually a military man must serve 20 years to receive a full retirement pension. “The shooter” only served a little more than 16 years, and thus does not qualify to receive the benefits of a 20-year veterans retirement plan. 

This highlights one of the main problems that plague veterans with fewer than 20 years of service. The number of resources available to these men and women is significantly less than those available to fully retired military members. Unless disabled, these non–fully retired veterans have very few benefits available to them. One way to possibly help these men would be bracketing service time to correlate with certain benefits levels, such as limited benefits from zero to 10 years, more generous benefit package for service of 10 to 20 years and full benefits package for more than 20 years of service. 

Such a plan would help keep the costs lower for taxpayers and the government, and it would prevent our servicemen from coming home from the ravages of war empty-handed. Giving veterans with fewer than 20 years of service a way to more easily access assistance programs, secure employment and guarantee medical care is long overdue in this country. 

It is insulting that politicians who have a comfortable retirement plan often serve significantly fewer than 20 years, while veterans who have sacrificed years of their lives are left without income, pensions, jobs or homes. If politicians get a pension plan for their service in the confines of an air-conditioned Capitol Building, then certainly we can figure something out to help out more veterans. 


Trending Now

Send a Tip Get Our Email Editions