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Concerning H.R. 585, H.R. 156, and H.R. 704 Before the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance & Memorial Affairs Committee on Veterans’ Affairs United States House of Representatives

June 19, 2007
H.R. 585- to amend title 38 US Code, to expand the number of individuals qualifying for retroactive benefits from traumatic injury protection coverage under Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance.

P.L. 109-233, the Veterans Housing Opportunity and Benefits Improvement Act of 2006, mandated that The Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (TSGLI) be retroactive to October 7, 2001, for members who incur a qualifying loss as a direct result of injuries incurred on or after October 7, 2001, through and including November 30, 2005, in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) or Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). This means that the service member must have been deployed outside the United States on orders in support of OEF or OIF or serving in a geographic location that qualified the service member for the Combat Zone Tax Exclusion under the Internal Revenue Service Code. However, when Congress passed this important legislation last year they did not take into consideration that even training for war is a dangerous business in itself. Whether or not you are stationed in an active combat zone should not exclude a service member from this most important benefit. Non-battle wounds can range from injuries in vehicle accidents to illnesses. As an example, an Air Force pilot was killed last week in simulated close air combat over Alaska. Every time a unit goes to 29 Palms to train in desert warfare someone is seriously injured because training for war is sometimes almost as dangerous as war itself.

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