Bustos, Braley Introduce ‘Taylor Morris Act’ to Ease Financial Burden for America’s Most Severely Injured Veterans
Washington, D.C. – Representatives Cheri Bustos (IL-17) and Bruce Braley (IA-01) today introduced the Taylor Morris Act in an effort to ensure that veterans who suffer multiple severe injuries while serving the United States in the line of duty are treated fairly upon their return home.
Current compensation for injuries sustained in combat is capped at $100,000, meaning that a servicemember with two amputated limbs receives the same payment as a servicemember who has lost all four limbs—despite the much greater financial hardship and longer recovery. The Taylor Morris Act, named for an heroic Iowa quadruple amputee injured in Afghanistan, would remove that cap so payments are more appropriate to the injuries sustained.
“Our nation’s wounded warriors, like the one I’m proud to have on our staff, deserve our full support when they return home from the battlefield,” Bustos said. “The brave men and women who have suffered life-altering injuries in service to their country should not be subject to caps that minimize their sacrifice and that of their families, who often spend months displaced to heal alongside them.”
“I first met Taylor in the intensive care unit at Walter Reed. He is one of the bravest men I’ve ever met and I’m honored to name this bill after him,” Braley said. “The fact that more servicemembers are surviving severe injuries due to immediate medical treatment is a great development, but this cap just isn’t fair to our injured veterans and needs to be eliminated.”
“When I sustained my injury in Afghanistan, I had no idea how drastically my life was about to change. With multiple surgeries and years of rehabilitation, I was looking at a lifetime of costs,” Morris said. “I was so very fortunate to receive help from so many people across the United States. But not every person who is critically injured has the same support. This bill will help ease the burden of at least one aspect of recovery."
Currently, the Traumatic Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (TSGLI) policy provides a one-time lump sum payment designed to help cover immediate financial needs for servicemembers and their families when suffering severe, life-changing injuries, such as limb amputations or the loss of eyesight. This payment is determined by a method that assigns specific dollar amounts to each severe injury, which cannot exceed more than $100,000—the cap that the Taylor Morris Act would eliminate.
This issue has become more critical as more servicemembers than ever are surviving severe injuries—injuries that often result in a significant financial burden for the servicemember and their family.
Morris is a native of Cedar Falls, Iowa and served as a Navy EOD (explosive ordinance disposal) tech in Afghanistan. In May 2012, while clearing a path for his Army Special Forces team, he was badly injured by an IED blast.