Joe from Amherst, MA

Faces of the Federal Budget

I would be a Wal-Mart greeter now [if it weren’t for veterans’ benefits]. I had to leave the post office early because I fell off a ladder and shattered my [leg]. … I had to take an early retirement. I retired at 51 with 23 years’ service. So, I only get like 43% of my postal [pension], which is like $20,000 a year and I don’t know about you, but on $20,000 a year, I’d have to sit here and watch television and hold my breath that the furnace didn’t give.

I do think the government should be putting more money into veterans’ transitional programs, such as job training and other forms of training. It makes sense putting people back on their feet. You know that old thing, “teach a man to fish,” I truly believe in that. … One thing I can’t stand is everybody getting stuff handed to them. I mean maybe somebody will feel that way about me. I went to Vietnam and got wounded and have PTSD now and I get $50,000 a year between my retirement and my compensation … I have never told anybody that [who hasn’t said] “well you deserve every penny of that.” And I say, “well, I’m glad you told me that. Because there may be people out there that think I’m ripping the government off.” Because there are a lot of people out there who don’t care about Vietnam anymore. It was a mistake; they put it behind them. Well, I can’t put it behind me. I live with it every day.

Joe from Amherst, MA | Map

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