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A Letter to Governors from a Vietnam Veteran

By Remy Benoit

I was asked to post this letter as it concerns all Veterans and the funding and disbursement of funds for disabilities. It was originally sent to the Governor of Arizona, but Sgt. Mikie decided he would like to have all our Governors read and address it. You can check at National Military Families Association. to see how the families of our current troops are doing and call your Governor's office to help redress the situation outlined below.

Here is the letter I was asked to post:

Honorable Governor:

As a Vietnam Veteran, I know of one veteran's benefit that is deserved and neither you or anyone else has fought for it, especially in Congress, where such things are decided.

I suspect, however that it was just over-sight. I didn't really notice it myself for years.

Then, when I did, I tried to rationalize if from a "Put yourself in their shoes" perspective, but to date, I can't really come up with any plausible explanation why such a glaring, unfair discrepancy exists and has not been noticed, or addressed, but allowed to continue as part of apparently the "Status Quo."

So, as I read your statement in the voter's information I received, I thought it might help me decide after seeing your debate with the other candidates, how to cast my independent/swing vote. I do know one thing for sure, though. It is not, but can be a very explosive issue, and if properly addressed, for the good of ALL Veterans, especially those youngerones in what some of us Vietnam types call "The new batch" it can be very helpful to them and you. Because it is something not only you, but the Governor of each and every state in this union should be aware of, considering the thousands upon thousands of dollars it costs Arizona and the other states, to take up the slack where Congress either dropped the ball, or slipped a "Quickie" in on you and the other 49 Governors.

Here is the problem: Sorry the setup took so long, but it is a complicated issue, so it had to take a while.

The VA Service - Connected Disability Compensation table is grossly out of balance, and unfair to veterans rated below 100% in most instances. The percentage system is used, of course, because Combat and other disabilities related to Military and Combat Service differ from the Social Security type of disabilities. Granted that, though, once adjudicated at a certain percentage, say for example 100% --the veteran is compensated at a rate of $2207.00 per month.

There are graduations of 10, 20, 30, etc. percent, but the Compensation for those lower percentages of disability is NOT. Just as an example --50%. A service-connected veteran @ 50% is compensated @ $400+ Dollars less than the amount that is equal to 50% of the $2207 for 100% service-connection. A veteran @ 50% only receives $690 whereas, $1103.50 is half or 50 percent of $2207.

Why do I think you would be interested in this glaring unfair discrepancy?

Well, the two adjectives I just used.... glaring, unfair AND the fact that as I mentioned in some cases...the State of Arizona is taking up the slack in food stamps, and depletion of Arizona Food Bank stores, and who knows what make up for the Federal Government's oversight or whatever it was that made them so bad at math, Hahaha!

Since I am a poor veteran and I can use the money, I will make you a bet. I bet if you can find a way to track it, and announce that you are gonna raise this issue with the other governors, or sponsor legislation at a federal level to address this inequity, you could very well get at least a thousand more votes, not that you would necessarily need them what with partisan politics looking like it is looking.

I am an Independent, by the way, and still uncommitted, so far.

But think what it would mean to Arizona's fiscal responsibility, and mine if I and the others if there are any - if with $1103.50 which is the FULL 50 percent at my disposal...I could drop off the Food Stamp rolls, and have a little bit of my dignity back and my faith in government and it's interest in it's avowed purposes and promises, and in it's ability to keep them, along with the rest of Arizona's veterans and indeed the rest of the veterans in this unfortunate situation in this whole great country that we loved so well, and still do, and only want them to show their professed love for us in kept promises to be fair with us.

Thank you for your time, and if it matters, I am actually leaning towards tossin’ ‘ya my vote.


Michael Pectol
Former Sgt. HHB/2/77FA
U.S. Army, 4th and 25 Infantry Divisions,
Vietnam, 1967 - 1968


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This item is part of historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.

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