This week, a former Air Force member petitioned the United State Supreme Court to rule on whether or not states have the right to factor veterans’ disability benefits into spousal support payments during divorce proceedings. The petition happens after years of confusion when it comes to VA disability benefits, divorce, and alimony.
Are VA disability benefits for soldiers or families?
What is at the heart of the debate about veterans’ disability benefits and divorce division of property? It’s a simple question: Are VA disability benefits meant to help the veteran alone or to help both the veteran and his or her family?
There is wide disagreement on the answer. The 1982 Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) give judges the power to distribute disposable military retired pay as marital property or as alimony or child support – but does that mean that VA disability counts as well? Under federal law, veterans’ disability benefits are immune “from taxation, claims of creditors, attachment, levy and seizure,” – but are they immune from divorce settlements as well?
Currently, states across the country are split on how they interpret who veterans’ disability benefits are really for, and whether they can be included in a veterans’ income during divorce.
What will happen next?
Across the country, small protests have been reported – veterans who do not want to give up a percentage of their veterans’ disability payments to ex-spouses they say are physically and mentally able to work.
Currently, one veteran has stepped up and asked the Supreme Court to make a ruling on the issue and settle the matter on a federal level. However, others believe that individual states should get to decide how their divorce proceedings work.
Texas veterans’ disability lawyers
The legal issues surrounding veterans’ disability benefits can be complicated, and securing your rightful VA disability benefits can be more difficult than you at first believe. A Houston disability attorney can help you navigate the process successfully, prove that your disability is service-related, and ultimately get you the benefits that you deserve in the wake of your service. Call Morgan & Weisbrod toll-free at 800.800.6353 to schedule a free, private consultation and get started today.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.