Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent
Christmas for the Troops came early this year. Congress decided it needed to show the entire military family exactly how much they appreciate the sacrifice, dedication, honor and commitment that our troops, veterans and families show every day. In a special moment of bipartisanship, US Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and US Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) decided to help balance the budget on the backs of the approximate 1% of the American population who are either active duty or retired military, and lighten our pockets and the terrible burden of our mediocre retirement plan by reducing it further. It’s a Congressional two-fer!
Yes, on Thursday, December 12, 2013, the US House of Representatives passed overwhelmingly the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. With precious little warning, and even less care for their promises to the military, the deal sailed through the House of Representatives with nary a second thought. Certainly, nary a second thought for the effects this bill has on our pockets:
An $83,000 hit to the average enlisted servicemember retiring as an E-7.
And, $124,000 less to the average officer retiring as an O-5.
Break this down even further, the average yearly retirement for an average E-7 is approximately $44,000. This will shrink to roughly $35,000. Now remove taxes. Now remove Tricare fees, copays, and deductibles. This E-7, who has likely deployed and served several tours in an area of conflict, who may have physical consequences from his or her time served, and who certainly missed years of family time, birthdays, funerals, and everyday moments has earned a retirement pay that will just about cover a car payment.
For retired families with special needs children, this is more than a hit to the pocket book. This could be a death blow for our families. It may be surprising to government and Tricare officials to know that our dependents’ special needs do not miraculously disappear after retirement. Therapies – and associated copays – are very much needed. Prescriptions – and copays – don’t disappear from our lives. Mental illnesses, PTSD, physical disabilities, neurological divergence: still there. The autism doesn’t go away just because our servicemember hangs up his uniform. Add in the fact that due to the necessities of being the primary care giver for our special needs dependents – or actually being the EFM themselves – spouses of servicemembers have limited employment histories. This means, though they may be highly educated, and incredibly capable, they have no job history, no resume, and little to no potential for employment in an already challenging job market. Point blank, this family is in big trouble.
It is time to tell Congress that enough is enough. Our families have sacrificed enough. We will not “Embrace the Suck,” as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi so callously advised Congress. We will shout it from the rooftops, we will rally our families and let our voice be heard. We will not allow this Congress to break its promise to our military. But we need your help. Get pissed. Get busy and start making some noise. Here are some good ways to start:
Learn about the Act that has the power to dramatically change your retirement plans:
Let us know your thoughts: share your concerns and fears, what you’ve done to raise the alarm, or link up with other blogs or news sources you’ve found. We must unite and tell Congress this is unacceptable. Please help today.
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