Thursday, August 23, 2007

Disabled Indiana Veterans

How many support our veterans? When I ask this, I get mostly thumbs up. But how many realize the state of Indiana does not support our disabled veterans equally? Generally speaking if a service member from the state of Indiana is injured and is awarded a 10% disability rating or more, their children are able to attend a state college free. However, there is a terrible injustice that our state representatives have done in writing this statute that has been on the books for decades. To qualify for this benefit, our disabled veterans must have served between the following dates, not necessarily injured in combat.

April 6, 1916 to July 2, 1921
September 16, 1940 to December 31, 1946
June 15, 1950 to January 31, 1955
August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975
August 2, 1990 to present

Looking at the dates, one would get the impression that you have to be injured in combat, but that is not the case at all. We have not been at war since August 2, 1990. All one needs is a service-related disability rated at 10% or more and have served during the dates above.

One can be severely burned, cut up and have multiple fractures from training or catastrophic explosions during any of the black out dates and not qualify while a person who is rated a minimal 10% for hearing loss or sleep disorder was in service during the dates listed above qualify.

Third degree burns are terrible. Shrapnel wounds leave terrible scars and have long term and permanent damage to nerves and muscles resulting in reduced range of motion, yet if the veteran was serving our country during a black out date, the state of Indiana treats them as a second class veteran.

It is time for our representatives to treat all veterans equally.

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