Deadbeat soldiers refuse debts
The deadbeat inn
GAO Says Government Pesters Wounded Soldiers Over Debts
By Donna St. George
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 27, 2006; Page A18
Nearly 900 soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have been saddled with government debts as they have recovered from war, according to a report that describes collection notices going out to veterans with brain damage, paralysis, lost limbs and shrapnel wounds.
The report from the Government Accountability Office, to be released at a hearing today, details how long-recognized problems with military computer systems led to the soldiers being dunned for an array of debts related to everything from errors in paychecks to equipment left behind on the battlefield.
Retired Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Kelly, who lost a leg in a roadside bombing, received a letter in 2004 saying he was in debt to the government and was in jeopardy of being referred to a collection agency.
The problem came to light last year, as soldiers' complaints began to surface and several lawmakers became involved. The GAO had been investigating other pay problems caused by the defense accounting system and was asked by Congress to investigate debts among the battle-wounded.
The new report shows a problem more widespread than previously known.
"We found that hundreds of separated battle-injured soldiers were pursued for collection of military debts incurred through no fault of their own," the report said.
Last fall, the Army said 331 soldiers had been hit with military debt after being wounded at war. The latest figures show that a larger group of 900 battle-wounded troops has been tagged with debts.
"It's unconscionable," said Ryan Kelly, 25, a retired staff sergeant who lost a leg to a roadside bomb and then spent more than a year trying to fend off a debt of $2,231. "It's sad that we'd let that happen."
Kelly recalled the day in 2004 when, months after learning to walk on a prosthesis, he opened his mailbox to find a letter saying he was in debt to the government -- and in jeopardy of referral to a collection agency. "It hits you in the gut," he said. "It's like, 'Thanks for your service, and now you owe us.' "
But, but we support the troops.
OH, fuck you. A decent coutry wouldn't let this happen. Unless you can grow back an arm, looking for cash from wounded GI's beggars description. It is the kind of casual cruelty one has learned to expect from the Bush Administation.
If we really supported the troops in this country,after the first few cases, this would have been solved. They don't even investigate these cases, they just send bills and dock pay.
posted by Steve @ 7:46:00 AM