During a 2006 suicide bomb attack while serving in Iraq, Bobby Ehrig, president of the San Antonio Coalition for Veterans, sustained third-degree burns to 40 percent of his body. “Burns are the worst war injuries to take care of and to comprehend,” he explains.Burn injuries can be especially troublesome in the warmer parts of the country, where basic lifestyle changes may be necessary for survival. Severe burns destroy sweat glands as well as epidermal insulation, leaving burn victims unable to regulate their body temperatures independently. This can lead to tragic results after just minutes of heat exposure.“You hear stories about seniors who die at home,” Ehrig said. “That’s the risk we face.”In order to compensate for complications from burn injuries, the home of a severely burned veteran must be maintained at lower temperatures, often not exceeding 70 degrees. That can mean burdensome utility bills for burned veterans and their families.
In 2011, State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte filed a bill requiring CPS Energy to assist burned veterans in San Antonio. A $90 monthly discount was approved by the City Council from April to October.
Now, the state Senate has unanimously passed the bill, enabling similar programs throughout Texas. “I know utilities in other parts of the state will appreciate being allowed to help our burned warriors in their service areas as well,” said Sen. Van de Putte.
Lisa Lewis, CPS Energy’s vice president of corporate communications, is highly supportive of the program, saying the financial impact of the program on the utility has been minimal.
If you are a Texas veteran struggling to receive compensation for service-connected disabilities, the Houston VA disability benefits lawyers at Morgan & Weisbrod may be able to help. Call us toll-free at 877-898-1581to speak with a member of our experienced team today.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.