Wounded in Iraq, Contract Translators Battle Insurance Companies

Monday, December 28, 2009

In exchange for helping American soldiers communicate in a foreign-speaking land, Iraqi translators were supposed to receive from the U.S. government a modest salary ($12,000 a year) and insurance benefits in case of injury or death. But for many translators wounded in the line of duty, insurance coverage has fallen short of what was promised, according to an investigation by ProPublica and the Los Angeles Times.

Insurance companies, primarily AIG, often delayed or denied claims because translators or their families failed to provide police reports or other evidence proving their injuries or cause of death. Some Iraqi interpreters were shipped to Jordan for medical treatment, where they were forced into accepting lump-sum settlements that saved insurers money. Those interpreters who immigrated to the United States received benefits based on Iraq’s cost of living, not America’s, leaving Iraqi-Americans in dire financial straits.
The largest contractor providing translators to American military forces was Titan Corp., which hired more than 8,000 Iraqis. At least 360 of these interpreters were killed between 2003-2008, and more than 1,200 were injured. Titan was bought by L-3 Communications in 2005.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Afghan Translator Blown Up and Then Fired (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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