Reps. Kildee, Bergman Introduce Legislation to Ensure Injured Veterans Receive Benefits

Press Release

Date: Sept. 17, 2020
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Veterans

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, and Congressman Jack Bergman (MI-01), introduced the Transparency for Wounded Warriors Act to ensure that injured service members receive their benefits earned through service to our country.

The Traumatic Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (TSGLI) provides financial support to help eligible servicemembers recover from severe injuries. At times, servicemembers have been denied from receiving these benefits due to a lack of transparency and bureaucratic hurdles in the process. The Transparency for Wounded Warriors Act would make the TSGLI benefits process more transparent and minimize the potential for bureaucratic errors.

This legislation is a result of a local constituent in Congressman Kildee's district. In 2013, Sergeant First Class (SFC) Cameron Corder, of Clio, was injured while on active duty with the Michigan Army National Guard serving as a flight medic in Afghanistan. SFC Corder sustained severe injuries to his back during a medical evacuation flight. Despite his traumatic injury, the Army for years repeatedly denied SFC Corder's requests for the injury benefits to which he is entitled, including $100,000 from the TSGLI program. For years, the Army erroneously claimed that Corder should not receive the TSGLI benefit because his medical records did not adequately describe the traumatic event. Because of a years-long effort by Congressman Kildee to reverse the Army's decision, SFC Corder was given his benefits in 2017.

"An injured service member should never have to go through a difficult and lengthy bureaucratic ordeal to get the benefits they are owed and deserve," said Congressman Kildee. "Our men and women in uniform who defend our freedoms represent the best of this country and we owe them our full support when they return home. I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Congressman Bergman to cut the red tape and get our servicemembers the benefits they have earned through service to our country."

"The Department of Veterans Affairs, with the help of Congress, has come a long way in providing more transparency for our Veterans. I'm joining my Michigan colleague, Congressman Dan Kildee, to continue this mission in a bipartisan manner and propose new, clearer paths for Veterans in their benefits decisions," said Congressman Bergman.

Specifically, the bill would require the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) to provide the servicemember, if they are denied TSGLI benefits, a report with the reasons why TSGLI benefits were denied, along with the information the VA used to make the decision. If the servicemember chooses to appeal the decision, the VA would not be able to use any information outside of the report to justify an additional denial.