Iraq War vet Daniel Gade is a lieutenant colonel, professor of public policy, and triathlon competitor with a message for fellow veterans: disability pay may be doing you more harm than good.
Having lost a leg in combat himself, he submits that he is a messenger somewhat harder to dismiss than some others would be.
Professor Gade criticizes how the government puts vets with relatively mild problems in the same category as those with true disabilities, and gives them incentives to stay out of the job market.
An example is the Individual Unemployability program, which treats veterans rated as at least 60 percent disabled as if they are 100 percent disabled as well as 100 percent long-term unemployable. Demonstrating that level of disability and unemployability to the satisfaction of the government means a bump in monthly benefits from $1,200 to $3,100.
“It’s a trap,” Gade insists.
He is working with private donors on a pilot program for vets. His idea is to give grants to develop employment skills rather than to maintain unemployment. Participants must forego any attempt to increase their disability pay by seeking a higher disability rating.
According to one soldier who gave the professor’s pitch a hearing, the government’s system to help vets “is just ‘Give me the money, who cares about anything else.’”
Gade’s proposal, on the other hand, “says go out and work, be productive, feel good about yourself. There is where we do well. If we don’t have a mission, we don’t do well.”
Accept the mission.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.