FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Donalyn Dela Cruz
September 6, 2006 (202) 224-6361
HAWAII'S SERVICEMEMBERS BENEFITTING UNDER NEW LAW
Washington, D.C. ? Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) today expressed gratification over reports that Hawaii's servicemembers, who suffer from severe injuries, are financially benefitting under legislation he worked on that became part of Public Law 109-13. The new benefit went into effect December 2005.
?I am proud to have been an original cosponsor of the legislation that established Traumatic Injury Protection. In Hawaii, 35 claims have been paid under this new program, totaling more than $2 million,? said Senator Akaka. ?It saddens me to know how many of our servicemembers suffer from severe physical wounds. I wish it weren't so. At the very least, this important benefit is helping to ease the financial burden placed on Island servicemembers and their families.?
Traumatic Injury Protection, an insurance policy for which servicemembers pay just $1 a month, is designed to provide wounded or seriously injured servicemembers who suffer certain losses as a direct result of traumatic injury with monetary assistance. Under the program, seriously injured servicemembers are paid between $25,000 and $100,000, depending on the severity of their injuries. This vital program supplements existing Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs benefits.
?As we discussed when we were crafting this new benefit, servicemembers and their loved ones face many financial hardships when a servicemember is hospitalized with injuries. This insurance program helps ease the financial burden during this critical time. It allows servicemembers and their families to focus on the recovery process.?
As of August 25, 2006, the Traumatic Injury Protection program has paid 2,664 claims, totaling more than $164 million nationwide.
Senator Akaka is the Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, which will meet tomorrow to take a closer look at the Traumatic Injury Protection benefit. The hearing will be held in room 418 the Russell Senate Office Building at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.