by Jere Beery, Staff Writer
Ray Zirkelbach (D) is Iowa State Representative for District 31. He is also the one person standing in the way of passing legislation which would enhance the federal protection of veteran’s disability compensation from third party awards.
The controversy stems from HF 170, which was introduced in the Iowa General Assembly last month. The Bill reinforces existing federal law within USC, Title 38, Section 5301 which states in part; Payments of benefits due or to become due under any law administered by the Secretary shall not be assignable except to the extent specifically authorized by law, and such payments made to, or on account of, a beneficiary shall be exempt from taxation, shall be exempt from the claim of creditors, and shall not be liable to attachment, levy, or seizure by or under any legal or equitable process whatever, either before or after receipt by the beneficiary.
Iowa General Assembly HF 170 reaffirms this protection at the state level. However, Representative Ray Zirkelbach has refused to support the Bill unless a ‘child support’ clause is attached to the legislation. It should be noted that USC, Title 38, makes no provision for child support and Section 5301 only addresses protection of a veteran’s disability benefits from third party awards.
According to OFFE National Chairman, Gene Simes, Mr. Zirkelbach has no right or jurisdiction to inject his own agenda into existing federal law. And to use the existence of an arbitrary child that may, or may not be involved in a divorce to deny protection of veteran’s benefits as a whole is totally unacceptable. Mr. Zirkelbach is mixing apples and oranges.
The issue boiled over yesterday when OFFE Public Relations Director, Jere Beery sent out several emails in which he used some foul language to expose Zirkelbach’s inability to interpret the law correctly. In response, Zirkelbach notified the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and unsuccessfully attempted to bring charges against Beery for threats against his person. According to Jere Beery, he never threatened anyone and Zirkelbach’s actions are simply a thinly veiled attempt to distract from the real issue here. “If anyone should feel threatened it is the men and women in our military, as it is their benefits that are being targeted.” Beery stated.
Jere Beery said that family court judges nationwide are routinely ignoring federal law and stripping disabled veterans (male and female) of their earned disability compensation. Operation Firing For Effect is currently monitoring 38 cases across the U.S. where veteran’s disability benefits have been calculated as a divisible asset in a divorce settlement for spousal support, alimony, and/or child support. In one case in Michigan the veteran’s combat disability compensation was misused as a ‘property settlement’. That case has since been overturned by appeal.
Beery also points out that in a divorce, agencies and lobbyist connected with child support and alimony come out of the woodwork to insure the rights of the ex-spouse and children are honored. The disabled veteran goes into a divorce court alone. No one stands up to protect their benefits. Not the judge, not the attorneys or friend of the court, no one…
If Mr. Zirkelbach wishes to lobby Congress to amend USC, Title 38 to decrease the federal protection of veterans’ benefits, he can do that. But, Mr. Zirkelbach will not change, alter, reinvent, or circumvent the wording and/or intent of existing federal statues with creative or custom-made state legislation without one hell of a fight.
Meanwhile, Zirkelbach and the Majority Party have sabotaged HF 170 in this session, so supporters will have to wait until next year for reconsideration of this very important issue. It was this single fact that outraged and infuriated Jere Beery.
Operation Firing For Effect has issued a warning to returning troops of the ambush that awaits them if they face a divorce when they return home. http://jerebeery.com/press_release_51.htm
In a March 12, 2009 article by Jason Clayworth which appeared in the DesMoines Register, Clayworth attempts to distort and misrepresent the facts surrounding the incident which occurred between OFFE Public Relations Director Jere Beery and Iowa State Representative Ray Zirkelbach. It is very obvious from the article that Clayworth is not a veteran and didn’t know anything about the subject matter he was reporting on.
In the article the inexperienced Clayworth claimed Beery made the statement; ‘he knew where Zirkelback lived, worked, and went to church’. A review of the emails by Iowa law enforcement proves Clayworth’s reporting is false and Beery never made any such claim. According to Beery, Jason Clayworth attempted to put a negative spin on his actual statements. In addition, Clayworth states phone threats were made to Zirkelbach from Beery. This too is a complete fabrication and phone records will prove this to be false also. OFFE National Chairman Gene Simes is demanding a retraction from Clayworth and the DesMoines Register.
Clayworth also claims the issue in question revolves around child support, when in fact the primary issue is about protection of veterans’ disability compensation. “Evidently, reporters in Iowa can make things up in order to sell papers,” Simes stated. “We are very grateful for the DesMoines Register for covering the story, as that was our objective from the outset.
However, it would be far more valuable to Iowa readers if they got the facts surrounding the story correct. Attempts to make Jere Beery the bad guy in this story only distracts from the real issue here, protection of disability benefits our men and women in uniform earn with their blood, sweat, and tears. Mr. Clayworth went out of his way to portray Zirkelbach as the victim in this story. When, in fact, our disabled veterans are the real victim here,” Simes concluded.
It should also be noted that no charges have been filed against Jere Beery. There is a very good reason for this. Jere Beery broke no laws. Although Jere Beery’s comments were crude and abrasive, he admits they were meant to be. There is no doubt in the minds of those who know him that Mr. Beery was standing up for the rights of his fellow disabled veterans. For that, Jere Beery offers no apologies.
As for the issue of child support; the state of Iowa is notorious for manipulating and abusing laws which appear in Title 4 sections 598.22 – 598.23A. Known by some as ‘For Profit Child Management’, the state of Iowa, according to some, has wrecked more families than they have helped. Many families resent the state sticking their collective noses into personal matters concerning their children. Between federal grants and funding, many people in Iowa make a very good living off of broken families. The more broken families, the more money they get. Many state agencies feel they can do absolutely anything they wish, and as long as they use the word “child”, they are justified.
According to Iowa resident and OFFE Media Director, Jeff Showalter, Iowa has the most corrupt and vile court system dealing with family and children services than anywhere in the country. “I have been dealing with these people for 18 years now. I know how corrupt they are. Now, they have figured out how to steal benefits from disabled veterans. How sad is that? I found Beery’s emails mild compared to this ugly Iowa fact,” Showalter said.
For more information on this issue, visit; http://jerebeery.com/5301%20Club.htmm
House File 170 – KILLED
A BILL FOR
An Act relating to the exclusion of veterans’ disability compensation in calculating property disposition and support obligations.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:
TLSB 1900HH 83
Section 1. Section 252B.7A, Code 2009, is amended by adding the following new subsection:
NEW SUBSECTION. 1A. Disability compensation received by a party from the United States department of veterans’ affairs for service=related injuries shall not be considered income for the purposes of determining a parent’s income under this section.
Sec.2. Section 598.11, Code 2009, is amended by adding the following new subsection:
NEW SUBSECTION. 4. The court shall not consider disability compensation received by a party from the United States department of veterans’ affairs for service-related injuries in determining the amount of temporary support awarded under this section.
Sec.3. Section 598.13, Code 2009, is amended by adding the following new subsection:
NEW SUBSECTION. 3. Disability compensation received by a party from the United States department of veterans’ affairs for service-related injuries shall not be considered income or property for the purposes of disclosing the financial status of such party.
Sec.4. Section 598.21, Code 2009, is amended by adding the following new subsection:
NEW SUBSECTION. 6A. VETERANS’ DISABILITY COMPENSATION. Disability compensation received by a party from the United States department of veterans’ affairs for service-related injuries shall not be considered property for the purposes of this section.
Sec.5. Section 598.21A, Code 2009, is amended by adding the following new subsection:
NEW SUBSECTION. 3. VETERANS’ DISABILITY COMPENSATION. Disability compensation received by a party from the United States department of veterans’ affairs for service-related injuries shall not be considered income for the purposes of this section.
Sec.6. Section 598.21B, subsection 2, paragraph b, Code 2009, is amended by adding the following new subparagraph:
NEW SUBPARAGRAPH.(4) For purposes of calculating a support obligation under this section, disability compensation received by a party from the United States department of veterans’ affairs for service-related injuries shall not be considered income.
Sec.7. Section 598.21C, Code 2009, is amended by adding the following new subsection:
NEW SUBSECTION. 1A. VETERANS’ DISABILITY COMPENSATION. Changes in the amount of disability compensation received by a party from the United States department of veterans’ affairs for service=related injuries shall not be considered a substantial change in circumstances for the purposes of this section.
This bill excludes from the calculation of property disposition and support obligations under dissolution of marriage and child support determinations, disability compensation received by a party from the United States department of veterans’ affairs for service-related injuries. United States department of veterans’ affairs disability compensation, in general, is a benefit paid to a veteran due to injuries or diseases that were incurred in or aggravated by military service.
LSB 1900HH 83 pf/nh/14
Ray Zirkelbach is the Iowa State Representative from the 31st District. He has served in the Iowa House of Representatives since he was elected in 2004. He was deployed in Iraq as an Iowa National Guardsman, in the First Battalion of the 133rd Infantry. His day job is that of a corrections officer at Anamosa State Penitentiary.
He did not sit in the 2006 or 2007 session of the Iowa House, because he was on active duty with the Iowa National Guard in Iraq.
He serves on the Agriculture, Labor, Public Safety, and Veterans Affairs committee, where he is chair. He also serves on the Justice System Appropriations Subcommittee.
Zirkelbach was re-elected in 2006 with 8,447 votes, running unopposed.
[POSTSCRIPT] "Political reasons have not the requisite certainty to afford juridical interpretation. They are different in different men. They are different in the same men at different times. And when a strict interpretation of the Constitution, according to the fixed rules which govern the interpretation of laws, is abandoned, and the theoretical opinions of individuals are allowed to control its meaning, we have no longer a Constitution; we are under a government of individual men, who for the time being have the power to declare what the Constitution is, according to their own views of that it ought to mean." Dred Scott v.Sanford, 19 How. 393, 620 (1857) (Curtis, J., dissenting).