Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Incarcerated veteran challenges loss of benefits

Incarcerated veteran challenges loss of benefits

An oddball case arising through the U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals raises the question about the difference between a public and private prison.

As far as benefits are concerned, the court ruled Sept. 18, there is no meaningful difference.

Army veteran William H. Wanless brought this case.

Following his two year peacetime service, Mr. Wanless won VA compensation payments for what the court described as "enucleation of the right eye, chronic lumbar strain with degenerative disc disease, tinnitus, high-frequency hearing loss, and residuals of a cervical strain."

Then life really turned bad, and in 1991 Wanless was convicted of strangling his wife and ultimately sentenced in Oklahoma to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Consequently, the Veterans Administration -- following set policy concerning incarcerated veterans -- cut his compensation payments from $808 a month to $85 a month.

Creatively, Wanless argued that he was still eligible for his full VA payments because he was being held in a privately run prison rather than a state-owned facility.

The appellate court rejected the argument, noting that the state is still paying for the prison, and that "Congress has explicitly concluded that if the taxpayers are financing a veteran's incarceration, it is contrary to the public good to also pay him full VA disability benefits."


I am amazed at some of the arguments that veterans can come up with to try and convice the court they should keep getting paid despite being locked up. All veterans know or should that is you go behind bars tour VA comp is being reduced to 10% regardless of your rating he is still getting 85 dollars a month more than other life witout parole prisoners

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