The Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient could also receive 15 years’ worth of back pay
As a Medal of Honor recipient, former Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia will also be eligible for retroactive monthly pension payments stretching back to 2004
As a Medal of Honor recipient, former Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia will also be eligible for retroactive monthly pension payments stretching back to 2004.
All Medal of Honor recipients receive a pension starting on the date they formally receive the Medal of Honor, which is currently $1,329.58 per month, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
But Medal of Honor recipients are also eligible for a retroactive payment for monthly stipends that technically took effect on the “date of heroism,” said Gina Jackson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In Bellavia's case, that date is Nov. 10, 2004, when he killed five enemy fighters and rescued an entire squad during the second battle of Fallujah.
Jackson declined to say how much Bellavia would receive in a lump sum for those retroactive payments, stating that the VA cannot discuss his specific benefits unless Bellavia signed a privacy waiver.
But based on the monthly pension rates over the past 15 years, Task & Purpose estimates Bellavia could receive a lump sum of roughly $202,000.
Bellavia was unavailable for comment on Tuesday, an Army spokeswoman said.
He will be presented with the Medal of Honor during a June 25 White House ceremony, becoming the first living Iraq War veteran to receive the award.