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MILITARY: Service retirees discriminated against

Letter by L.J. Tackett, Lakewood on April 30, 2010 at 1:15 pm with 6 Comments »
April 30, 2010 1:36 pm

How can Washington state justify discriminating against thousands of military retirees?

RCW 41.06.133 states, “Military personnel who voluntarily retire after 20 or more active duty years or who receive a pension of $500 or more are not considered veterans.”

This past legislative session I presented this case to state Sen. Mike Carrell and state Rep. Troy Kelley. They agreed, and consulted with the Joint Veterans/Military Affairs and Department of Personnel, which agreed.

The RCW was revised and presented to the 2010 Legislature, but unfortunately it was not important enough to be heard due to the short legislative session.

Many of us have served numerous war tours, Vietnam, Korea, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom. We bring to this state years of leadership and honor, but 10 minutes could not be afforded to be called a veteran in this state.

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  1. I was outraged until I found out the context of the rule you referenced. You left out an important part of the statement, and that is the definition only applies to automatic reinstatement to state service. The section you reference is a common one for states that was developed when there was a draft to allow a person to go off to military service for a brief time and retain their seniority in the job they held, be reinstated without going through the usual application processes and receive all the benefits they would have accrued while they were gone in terms of seniority and automatic pay increases. If a person is drafted or has a tour or two in the military, the law gives them these rights and does not count it as another career apth. If a person voluntarily chooses another career, even if it is the military, and receives retirement benefits, medical care and pensions based on that other career, I do not think they should be able to use that other career to give them seniority rights and longevity toward state retirement. I think the current approach is a practical solution and gives people a chance to serve their country without being penalized, but does not unduly reward those who choose to leave state service for an extended period to pursue another career path.

  2. That is interesting . . . My 23 years of service don’t count? I’m not a military vetern? What sort of craziness is that? Why is this law on the books?

  3. nanook, please read my response above. You are a veteran, but if you were a state employee at the time you entered service, you do not get the same rights to automatically return to state service with all of the back pay raises and seniority like veterans do who do not receive a military pension. The letter writer took a tiny portiion of state personnel rules out of context. I hope he contacts state human resources if he was a state employee at the time he entered service. He can get the real info from them.

  4. CRB9000 says:

    The Federal Gov’t does the same thing. A veteran who retires and then enters Federal service starts at year 1 when computing service dates. A veteran who did not retire gets to count his/her service time towards Federal service.

    It helps avoid double dipping on the retirement.

  5. CRB9000 says:

    Oh, I’ll say this, the language of the law is bad. It does, at first read, sound dismissive of full term veterans.

  6. CRB9000, if you read the actual section, it starts off by saying “For the purposes of this section…” That is what the letter writer left off. Its a standard way to write legal stuff. The terms have to be described exactly so when it is used later it will not be confusing as to what it means. If you leave off that opening, then yes, it might seem confusing.

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