Military Special Needs Network

Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent

Congress’ Christmas Message to the Troops

ChristmasTroops2Christmas 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.

134 comments on “Congress’ Christmas Message to the Troops

  1. Misty
    December 16, 2013

    Although I agree that our veterans should be the last to see a budget cut, keep in mind that military retirement is not intended to pay for all of your needs post active duty. Assuming a veteran enlisted at age 18, and retired at 20 years, you’re looking at a capable 48 year old individual able and willing to aquire civilian employment, paycheck, and insurance. No company, government or otherwise, provides a retirement at the same rate of pay as an active employee. I am eternally grateful for the years of 100% tricare coverage, and am even more blessed to be living in the prime service area now that my soldier is retired. but, i was never under the impression that once my husband’s service ended, the paycheck would continue.

    • Jodi
      December 16, 2013

      Misty, I don’t think this is really the point. Most people, who are working aged veterans (that retire) are just upset about the principle. First of all, less than 1% of military personnel make up retirees without disability. If Congress wanted to make larger impact on the budget, they should have cut across the board– military retirements, federal employee pensions, their own pensions, entitlement programs, or closing bases and/or programs that are not necessary for mission accomplishment. Instead they cut military retirement COLA adjustments (which are federally mandated to meet up with inflation), and they increase spending on military contractors. Secondly, we signed a contract. Under which it was stated that we would receive a retirement after 20 years, and even though this contract doesn’t extend to the actual retirement, it crosses a line. If they can touch retirement like this, with no oversight, what’s next, pay? Benefits? And what happened about the President’s promise that troops will be grandfathered into any modernization of the benefits and retirement programs? Finally, our “generous benefits” are to make up for the low pay most of us receive throughout our careers. I know that I was active duty, I was offered a security contract position after I separated that was 4 times what I was making on active duty, my husband works in an office with contractors. The contractors do the same job my husband does, they make goads more than he does. What attracts people to staying in for 20 years in a low paying job, high risk job is to offer excellent benefit packages– free medical care, good pensions, and great family programs. Otherwise what’s the point of having an all-voluntary force. Congress is shooting themselves in the foot, how are they going to attract the quality people we need to maintain the state-of-the-art military we have now? “Embrace the suck,” will not be a good recruiting catch phrase…

      • Aubrey Durkin
        December 17, 2013

        It looks like they’re succeeding in getting rid of the “all-volunteer” part. Definitely agree with you Jodi, the retirement is supposed to be part of the package in the same amount we were promised.

      • Mike
        December 18, 2013

        Senators, congressmen and the president get paid for the rest of their lives after 1 term, military has to do 20 years. They too are young enough to keep working….I am fed up with this administration…..they need to look else where for this money….stop giving it away to other countries…..that should be the number 1 priority…..once we get healthy again than we can provide aid.

      • Datafreak
        December 18, 2013

        The myth about Congress’ retirement has been addressed previously and is incorrect. Also, only 1% of this nation’s budget is for foreign aid. More has to be done but everyone is going to cry not me you first!

    • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
      December 16, 2013

      Hi Misty,

      Trust me, there is not an active duty soldier or spouse who isn’t very well aware of the fact that retirement from military service is NOT retirement from working.

      Why wouldn’t you be “under the impression that once my husband’s service ended the paycheck would continue?” His retirement paycheck, that is? It was in his contract. It was why he continued to deploy and leave his family behind? Why WOULDN’T you be pissed that those years of sacrifice and separation is now valued less and Congress opted to change the game – AFTER your husband and your family paid the price?

      Good for you for being calm and carrying on. I, for one, will not.

      -Kelly

      • Misty
        December 16, 2013

        he will receive his retirement, something is better than nothing. my wake up call came the day we found out how much my husband would earn in the civilian world, after his years of sacrifice in the military. i stopped complaining about low military wages, because he made far more money as a soldier than he does as a civilian mechanic. not to mention that price to carry on our Tricare coverage, for our family of four, is less per quarter than his employer would have charged twice a month. i would also think that if the contract that our soldier’s signed is legit, the government will have to honor it. it’s unfortunate for those who would consider enlisting in the future.

      • Datafreak
        December 16, 2013

        I for one am not upset because his contract is not being broken. We are grateful that we are able to receive retirement pay immediately and not have to wait until age 62 like most pensions, which are rare these days. It was our choice to live the life of a military family and suffer the sacrifices and separation; which by the way we were compensated for at the time it occurred. I do not expect to continue to seek payment for the past. Budget cuts need to occur and we are willing to once again make that sacrifice for our country.

    • Datafreak
      December 16, 2013

      Exactly! I don’t understand the fuss either.

      • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
        December 16, 2013

        It blows my mind that the sacrifices our servicemembers made are so under valued – often times by their own families. Did their absences mean so little? It’s “Sure! Take $83-124,000 from him. It’s not like he earned it by putting his life on the line, or anything.”

      • Datafreak
        December 16, 2013

        MSNN,

        As I mentioned earlier, our sacrifices were already compensated for during their absences through separation and hazardous duty pay. Why are we to expect more? Were we promised more? That is not the purpose of retirement pay. They can’t take anything away from us that we have not yet received nor were promised contractually. I ask you this, are you happy with our country continuing to build up debt? Do you think the military is exempt in all areas from helping to reduce spending? It blows my mind that so many think they deserve so much more than others.

      • Aubrey Durkin
        December 17, 2013

        Here is the question I ask: if we all have to tighten our belts, then why are only the same people getting the lowest pay raise since 1947 the only ones doing it? I know there are many who truly need help in our country. I will not refute that. But what about taking a good look at the public assistance programs. I have not heard a thing about reductions or reform when budget cuts come around the bend.

        When I passed the halfway point I saw myself retiring and getting what I was promised. Now I am beefing up my resume and polishing off my masters and second undergrad in anticipation of what is to come. Some jobs probably do pay better on the inside, but many do not. For example, my job and experience can score me six figures a year. I stayed in because I love serving my country. But at the end of the day, I need to ensure my future and that of my family. Sadly, because of this, I imagine this is the sentiment of many effected by this.

        I do not think it is a fuss so much as a collective demoralization. People are upset, over the money, principle, or whatever it is. They should be.

        I do hope things will work themselves out. And I do wish you a Merry Christmas!

    • David
      December 16, 2013

      Misty – This isn’t going to pretty and this will hopefully be over soon!
      18 + 20= 38 yrs of age – learn to add.
      Grateful for the Tricare coverage, damn sure better be, until these co-pays go through roof. Pay that out of pocket, along with the retirement cut. No company asks their employees either to go do something that will cost them their lives either without paying them 250,000 or better.
      Your Husband’s service, highly revered and much respect to him for his years. No one honestly believes they’ll live off it. However this being said, no one wants to miss Birthdays, Children being born, Anniversaries, loved ones dying while their deployed and can’t get home.
      In the end, all your points taste as good as dog shit does. Go fix yourself before you post anything ever again.

      Thanks,
      David

      • Michael Joseph
        December 18, 2013

        “No company asks their employees either to go do something that will cost them their lives either without paying them 250,000 or better.” Every Law Enforcement Officer, Firefighter that I know are asked to go out and risk there life everyday and they are not offered close to 20% of 250,000! We miss our children being born, school projects, scouts, etc.protecting your “give me everything for nothing ass”, and we don’t cry about it! Some of us work for a county that can’t afford to donate into a retirement plan, start you out at $12/hour and on your days off, your in court. Most of us have to work two jobs to to put food on the table! David, you need a reality check!

      • fjwalker1959
        December 19, 2013

        Actually, a lot of Law enforcement officers I know take in 6 figures a year. Granted a lot of that is OT, but isn’t the soldier paid for being on duty 24/7/365? Figure that hourly & the soldier is grossly under paid & expected to put his life in harms way.

      • Charlie
        December 19, 2013

        No soldiers are not paid 24/7. Guess what fjwalker more military are paid 6 figures than police.

      • Allison Wall
        December 19, 2013

        charlie – yes, technically, military is paid 24/7 because they are on-call 24/7. this is why they get a set salary and not an hourly wage. know your facts.

    • Bill
      December 16, 2013

      I appreciate the military family Misty but before you start accusing everyone that is angry about this of thinking that military retirement is a coverall, I recommend you pick up a rifle and stand a post for 20 years. The experiences are completely different I can assure you. Being a substantial retirement has nothing to do with the point of this post. It has to do with a mentality that it is ok to promising one thing and providing another after the service has been done. You are correct that no other entity provides the same retirement for someone who retires so early, but then again no other entity puts you in the face of death and destroys you mentally and physically for such low pay as the military. No other entity thinks it is ok to miss nearly every important event in someone’s life because of service. Additionally, not everyone so easily obtains employment or is capable of employment after service. Before you start telling people what their benefits are and are not please go out and earn them in the same blood and sweat.

    • Marty
      December 16, 2013

      Uhm, you weren’t under the impression that your husband’s paycheck would continue? Of course not. But the pension benefits were fully expected, were they not? Pay attention. The problem here is that everyone earned the pension they served to get and it is ludacris that the politicians in congress and the senate, that serve just one time will get a pension for life which they are not touching in this “crisis” situation. I’m glad your husband retired at a grade where YOU don’t miss an extra $50-100k over his pension years.

      • Datafreak
        December 16, 2013

        Marty, Congressmen do not receive a pension for life after serving one time. This is a misconception that is wildly distributed yet no one ever researches it. Congressmen must serve at least 5 years before earning a pension. They do not receive that pension until age 62; or they have to be 50 years old with 20 years of service; or any age with 25 years. The military receives it immediately upon retirement. Also, every servicemember who earned a pension is still getting it, even if this thing passes.

    • Cala
      December 17, 2013

      Misty, I would think that after 20 years of service and sacrifice a military members make they should make more than $35,000 in retirement. With the many deployments to unstable areas that are normal during the last 10+years our military deserves more.

      • Allison Wall
        December 17, 2013

        while it’s nice to think anyone who retires from the military should make at least $35k in retirement – most enlisted ranks will not, even without the 1% reduction in COLA. that’s just a reality.

    • Jerry
      December 17, 2013

      No other “company, government or otherwise” expects you to risk your life on a day to day basis either. And that would be a capable 38 year old not 48 btw. If you use a calculator to and then redo the math you see in the above article is a major slam to individuals helped keep us free by risking their lives.

      • Allison Wall
        December 19, 2013

        the math in this letter is voodoo math. $124k missing from retirement *might* be for an O6 over 35, but the average person in the service will not be missing the numbers they are throwing around. and it is based on COLA keeping up with inflation – newsflash – even when COLAs actually happen, because some years they don’t, they never keep up with inflation. the only thing that has kept up with inflation in regards to COLAs is this misleading letter and all the rest floating around the internet, all fueled by special interest groups that do NOT have our interest in mind. these groups are run by former members of congress, and they make MORE MONEY doing this than in congress. believe me, their interest is still in their own back pocket, not yours.

    • Aubrey Durkin
      December 17, 2013

      You’re definitely correct that it was never meant to cover all expenses. I only hope many families invested in other savings or retirement funds. However, I do see two issues with this: one, there are people who are close to retiring or already have are affected, and based their planning on having the money. Many have little to no time to make up for it. Two, they are entering the civilian work force at an older age and competing with the younger crowd fresh out of school. For some professions this can be a plus, while others it can be bad. UNfortunately not everyone plans for the retirement years with a parallel option, although it would be prudent. I also feel bad for the spouses who, like so many I have known, work hard at keeping the home running, still find time to do college, and then a shoulder to lean on. Despite the strength and loyalty military spouses exhibit, employers are reluctant to hire an employee who has moved so frequently and will move again soon. The military family has many disadvantages our civilian counterparts do not. Don’t get me wrong as I am still so grateful for a job, medical benefits for me and my family, and a wonderful extended family with my brothers and sisters who serve next to me.

      As they say, hope for the best, plan for the worst. I do feel it demoralizing to always be on the chopping block while no congressman would have their pay, benefits, and retirement touched. I hope enough people speak up and they find another way. I definitely have my ideas where the fat can be trimmed, but I will keep it to myself. :)

      Anyhow, thank you for your support for so long to your husband’s service! And Merry Christmas.

    • SSgt Hancock
      December 17, 2013

      18 year old enlistee + 20 years of service = 38 years old. Not 48.

    • Chris
      December 17, 2013

      18+20=38

    • Judy
      December 17, 2013

      First of all, recheck your math. 18 plus 20 is not 48. The whole point is that our military were promised something and Congree is going back on those promises. However, have you looked at their retirement that qualify for after only one term. When Congress starts looking after the American public and most of all, our military, the way they look after themselves.

      • Datafreak
        December 18, 2013

        Judy, that is incorrect about Congress having to serve only one term to receive retirement. They must serve 5 years and don’t receive it until age 62 unless they serve much for a much longer time. My husband and I budgeted for his retirement pay, not for COLA. That was a nice added surprise bonus. I don’t recall ever being promised it.

      • Allison Wall
        December 19, 2013

        all federal workers, including congress, have been on a pay freeze since 2010 (or maybe earlier). that includes these COLAs you are pining over. COLAs aren’t guaranteed.

    • Mike
      December 18, 2013

      I spent 30 years in the service spent 12 years away from my family…..this is not a normal job nor is it a 9 to 5. If the continue to cut our pay and benefits there will be no careerist in the military. Which will affect the leadership of senior personnel. If this happens we will have terrorist and enemy nations in your back yard are you willing to do this…..that 20 plus year retirement keeps military members in….take it away and they will leave.

    • Claudette McNeil Griffith
      December 18, 2013

      Misty… that is true IF your soldier comes away as a healthy and whole service member… However more and more are not returning home as fit and able at they once were… My husband is 100% disabled… So while it may not be a big deal to you, for others who have given so much… it IS! You need to read it… it applies to disability as well… My husband gave 26 years of his life to this country, as well as a lot of his health… If Congress didn’t look at ending their own retirement account, why are they doing this to their service members? It is a DISGRACE… and since you obiviously don’t need your husband’s retirement income, please consider donating the whole of it to Wounded Warrior Project, I’m SURE they could use it to help some very needy and deserving service member who just had their retirement incomes slashed!

    • John
      December 18, 2013

      Misty that is not the point. Most if us knew our retirement would not be enough. You can sit there and say it doesn’t bother you that your husband sacrificed so much for this country as well as what you and your children have sacrificed with husband/daddy being away yet people who break the law cost the U.S. taxpayers 4.2 billion last year and they keep those benefits but out retirement is cut? That is the principle behind it. Not to mention there are some that can’t find work or are disabled and rely on every penny if their check. What did they do to deserve this while people who sit in cushy offices and reap all sorts of free benefits made these decisions with no hearings or discussions?

    • Lorie
      December 18, 2013

      Misty,
      My bet is that “your soldier” didn’t get hit with the 43,000 reduction to his retirement right? And that wasn’t even the point! Cops get 90% of their income afternretirement, they didn’t get cut, nor did all the losers in D.C. they do nothing but screw things up…But the Military, lets cut them…sorry but that is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG….stop sending millions to countries that don’t even like us, take care of our own…I think that might be the point!

    • Natethegreat
      December 18, 2013

      18 + 20 = 38 .. Great math

    • Natethegreat
      December 18, 2013

      Misty you should use a calculator.

    • john
      December 18, 2013

      First of all Misty your math is wrong. 18+20 =38. If your husband did 20 years and you didn’t think his reitirement pay would continue you didn’t pay much attention to his military career like MOST military wives do. Even though he is an abled bodied man he is entitled to a full military pension with benefits. Does your husband know of your comment? Do you get it, they are CUTTING his pension? He has earned every penny of it and the Tricare coverage too. If he wants to work good for him.

    • Dan
      December 18, 2013

      “enlisted at age 18, and retired at 20 years, you’re looking at a capable 48 year old individual”……38.

    • Chad Rivers
      December 19, 2013

      MISTY YOU ARE WHAT WE CALLED IN THE USAF A TYPICAL U.S.A. CITIZEN (U STUPID AMERICAN) CITIZEN THAT IS …. WAIT MISTY IN THE NEXT THREE YEARS WATCH CONGRESS VOTE THEMSELVES ANOTHER PAY RAISE WHILE TAKING IT FROM YOUR HOUSEHOLD I REALLY DOUBT YOU ARE A DEPENDENT WIFE BECAUSE IF YOU REALLY ARE YOUR EITHER STUPID OR YOU HAVE BRAIN DAMAGE IN EITHER CASE YOU BETTER HAVE TRI CARE AND GET TREATED

      • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
        December 19, 2013

        Let’s keep things respectful and civil, Friend.

        Thank you.

      • Pete
        December 19, 2013

        Well Chad your reply to Misty is just rude. She made a good point and you missed it. Did the Air-Force teach you that kind of respect? You should read the post from Judith Bothern and TLCuddy in the 19th and you might see there are some valid points. Although I want to get the COLA in 2015 I do understand the valid concerns from civilians who as taxpayers pay this and u derstand that the retirement is NOT being decreased. It is the COLA.

    • tyler
      December 19, 2013

      Wow Misty that is great math that you displayed in your ignorant comment. Just for future post 18 plus 20 is 38.

      • Charlie
        December 19, 2013

        Does it occur to any of you that it was a typo and you missed her point?

    • Allison Wall
      December 19, 2013

      everyone that is against this 1% COLA reduction keeps re-doing misty’s math – that’s great – it shows you can all do simple math. it seems what you can’t do is more complicated math, like a 1% reduction in COLA you may or may not ever get, because they are not guaranteed, is not taking away your ACTUAL retirement. you are still getting the 50% or 62% or 75% you are due depending on your years in service. if you’re going to write letters and posts about what is being taken away from you – please use facts: COLA was never promised to you, so it cannot be “taken” from you. this COLA doesn’t reduce your retirement, like this letter claims, it reduces some imaginary number in the future of some imaginary COLA. 1% of zero is still zero – and sometimes this COLA you are pining over is zero. congress has to work at least 5 years to get a retirement and they get it at retirement age – the military gets their retirement much earlier in life – about age 38-40 as everyone has so eloquently pointed out to misty. with this deal, you get the 1% COLA back at age 62, AND you get to keep your actual retirement and not have that touched. some of you complaining might already be under REDUX and not know it, if you came in after 1986. an E7 doesn’t make $44k in retirement per year – more voodoo math. ALL federal employees have been on a pay freeze since 2010. federal workers now have to pay 1.5% more into their pension – military pays nothing into their pension, and federal workers don’t get the GI Bill like the military. so let’s all start using facts.

    • US Air Force Retired
      December 19, 2013

      Misty, I think you missed the point. When that veteran retires at 48, IF he/she is an “able” individual, they have to enter a workforce at an older age and most likely at a much longer position/pay than their civilian counterparts. This means lower pay and benefits for that veteran. So the retirement pay is definitely needed to make up for lost time and pay since the veteran has been serving this great nation and not in the civilian workforce. Also your comment regarding a civilian company or government not providing retirement at the same rate as active duty is just not true. Most Police or Fire Fighter agencies offer similar time frames/pay for retirement. Do you know why? Because such jobs are dangerous! That retired military member should not have to be grateful to the government for fulfilling their end of the contract. Let’s say you purchased a home and entered into a 30 year contract with the bank. You make every payment on time and do everything in accordance with the rules of the contract. Then when you pay that last payment, the bank says; we will not give you the deed unless you show your gratitude to us for being your mortgage lender. What would be your comment to the bank? In case you don’t know, the government contract to a military member reads something like this: To the person who elects to sign below. We (your government) is asking you to risk your life to support and defend the values, liberty and people of this great nation for at least 20 years. If you make through countless TDYs, Sea Duties, conflicts, wars and whatever else we throw at you, we will guarantee you at least 50% of average monthly pay and healthcare to heal all that you endured while serving. If you do not make it, we will recognize your service to this nation and hope there is someone willing to take your position. Signed: Your Government. So next time you go off thinking the military retirement pay is too much and veterans should be grateful to this government, try to put yourself in the shoes of that veteran and understand how much they have gone through just to make it to that 20-year mark…a lot of our brothers and sister didn’t. US Air Force Retired.

      • Charlie
        December 19, 2013

        Wow, not one part of your comment to Misty is accurate. There is no way you were in the military.

    • Go Navy
      December 20, 2013

      You stated…..” No company, government or otherwise, provides a retirement at the same rate of pay as an active employee”…There is one exception you did not include. The members of Congress who serve one term get retirement for the rest of their life. Oh and then there is the President…Secret Service and a Salary for the rest of his life, medical coverage…..You would also agree that a President after even two terms is fully capable of securing a living with speaking engagements and book deals…so why does a country owe so much to a former Leader. I do agree with you….a Nation’s thanks for service should be adequate compensation post service for both of these demographics.

      • Bob
        December 21, 2013

        Members of congress do not get a retirement after just one term. It is crazy that rumor still goes around. I would agree it doesn’t take much and it should be after 20 yrs like the few companies who even still offer a retirement.

    • Tony
      December 21, 2013

      Learn how to do math. They would be 38 and yes most of us get a job after retiring. We know this.

  2. Carol
    December 16, 2013

    An E7 does NOT make 44,000 a yr in retirement! If so there is an E7 out there committing fraud.

    • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
      December 16, 2013

      Hi Carol,

      Per Military.com: “For example, an E-7 who retires at age 40 would receive about $35,500 by age 62, down from about $44,000; while an O-5 who retires at age 42 would get about $63,900 by age 62, down from about $77,600, he said.”

      http://www.military.com/daily-news/2013/12/13/house-trims-pay-raises-for-troops-retirees.html

      -Kelly

      • Carol
        December 16, 2013

        The article said E7 44,000 at retirement. It did not say at 62. Most retire around age 40. For it to be 44,000 they would have been making over 100,000 active duty which you don’t until about O 5.
        As for the people throwing around the word “contract” there is really no such word in the military. Retirement was never something that couldn’t be changed. Do I like it, of course not. Am I grateful, tremendously. Most ppl don’t have pensions like we do these days and they worked just as hard. Also the military does not pay your salary based on sacrifice and separation fr family. It is based on the actual job. (I’m not referring the separation pay when overseas either, just salary). My husband did not “continue to deploy and leave his family behind” for a retirement check. He did it for love of his country, job and yes it was voluntary. I bet ANY family in the US right now without a pension at all would love to be in your shoes. I for one am grateful.

      • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
        December 16, 2013

        I’d take that bet, any day. Because what we have going on is a bait and switch. Tricare rate increases, decreased retirement – after time has already been served? That’s called changing the contract. And, yes, there is a contract.

        And, really? Your husband didn’t do the deployments for a paycheck, but solely for love of country? That’s awesome! Then you’ll be donating the remainder of his pension?

      • Carol
        December 16, 2013

        I never said he didn’t do it for a paycheck, not once said that. If you followed the thread the previous poster said military gets the pension only b/c “why he continued to deploy and leave his family behind? the fact is you are NOT paid for leaving your family. You are paid for experience, college or no college, the particular job, time in…. No there is NOT a “contract” the way ppl are throwing the word around. They act like once they signed this agreement it couldnt be changed. Two things: it can and you ARE seeing it. Two, have any of you met a recruiter…should be enough said but, they lie. Unless you joined prior to 1988 you do NOT get 1/2 your base pay, not to mention a day under 20 and you get zero. Congress CAN change it. Just like the fact people before 1988 got the 50 percent. No it is NOT a contract like most of you are throwing around. You all seem to think it is like a contract that cant be broken or changed. Wake up people. Again quit your bitchin, most companies don’t have pensions anymore plus you could have elected to participate in your TSP. Tricare Prime is also the most affordable healthcare available right now. Again these things shouldn’t be taken away but they can. Why cant you be grateful you have a pension?????

      • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
        December 16, 2013

        We do, in fact, have a contract that says 20 years = 50% of base pay, 30 years – 75% of base pay. And he enlisted after 1988. Contract. It’s in writing. That makes it a contract. Just like that part that says he can be charged with AWOL if he stops living up to his end of the – what? – contract.

        But, regardless of our very, very different views on this subject, my thanks to your husband for all of his sacrifice and service to our country.

        Happy Holidays.

      • Carol
        December 16, 2013

        I’m convinced you only read what you want to. Your so called “contact” (notice the quotes in every response and the long explanation that it is NOT the type of that cant be broken. Hence, you ARE seeing congress doing it right now) is not really a contract. Your benefits CAN change, including your pension. (Believe it or not Im very conservative and do not believe in cutting anything military. But Im painfully aware many benefits do change. People who entered serve just 5 yrs before my husband receive more retirement but that is ok it is and was voluntary.
        Thank you for the appreciation. He served over 22 years (including payroll ;) ) I also value all who serve and acknowledge the sacrifices the service member and families make. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

      • Jodi
        December 16, 2013

        I think you are misinformed regarding the contract. The contract is legally binding on both ends of it, and it does state you get 50% retiree pension for 20 years, and the percentage goes up in small increments for longer than 20 years. I know for a fact that this contract is signed and legally binding, because I signed the contract and have my copy of it right here. And I have a friend who ended up suing the USAF for breech of contract. They separated him in the 1990s as a Captain, and back then they used racial and sexual profiling to determine who was staying and who was going (this was the last drawdown during Clinton’s years). Anyway, he joined a class action lawsuit against the AF for illegal separation and won. He was brought back on Active Duty, was back paid, and was given a military retirement at the rank of Major. The reason he won was the supreme court found the United States Air Force was in breech of contract. There are several lawsuits like this going on right now, they have not been resolved, but the service members are suing under breech of contract. The reason that the US Congress can rewrite part of this contract is because they are not technically taking 1% of our retirement, they are taking the COLA that was instituted due to the high rate of inflation. This is why this is legal, though there will probably be a lawyer that will find a way to make this breech of contract– I honestly think that this will not stand up in Supreme Court. The same can be said for medical and other pension benefits we receive as part of the retired military community. The only thing that is guaranteed in military retirement is the 50% base pay pension and the free medical for active duty military personnel (families were added later, and that’s why they can change these contracts too).

      • Carol
        December 16, 2013

        Amazing how you just didnt read it. I’m talking about the way ppl are throwing around the word “contract”. It is not applicable in this situation. It is a fact that not everyone with 0ver 20 gets 50%. look it up. It depends when you entered the service. My husband is a retired officer over 20 and he does not get 50% of base pay based on the year he joined. Maybe you don’t realize things change, maybe it was after you joined. Maybe you don’t realize my husband paid those salaries so I know first hand.

      • Jodi
        December 16, 2013

        And you are not reading what I wrote– ACCORDING TO MY CONTRACT it states that I get 50% of my base pay if I stay in past 20. I am LOOKING AT THE CONTRACT RIGHT NOW. It’s in front of me. YES, contracts are different depending on when you come into the service. BUT for the most part people who signed their contract around the same time I did 1998 to be precise, it was the same contract– 20 years= 50% base pay, goes up incrementally based on number of years you stay in past 20 years. My husband’s contract states 20 years = 50% base pay; 25 years = 65% base pay, and his states time in grade requirement of two years. So if at 20 years he made O-6, he would have to stay in for 22 years to get retirement pay for O-6, and he would not get 50% base pay, he would get something like 62.5% base pay. It’s directly delineated in the contract. It’s on AF Portal too.

        And the issue I have with it has nothing to do with the percentage of pay, or the fact they are reneging on a contract. The issue is the precedent this sets. If federal government is allowed to do this to federal employees, it means that the government can alter contracted deals with any employee at any level with no oversight. Perfect example is Detroit teachers. Detroit just went bankrupt, and they are reneging on police, teachers, and other contracted government employee pensions. This money that the taxpayer paid into with taxpayer money in good faith. The military has done the same thing– we volunteered to take lower paying, high risk jobs with the promise from the United States that we would get free health care, and a good pension plan if we stayed active duty for 20 years, or we were considered disabled by the Veteran’s Administration. This was the promise people are referring to. It sets the precedent that salaries and pensions are fair game when governments fail to budget appropriately, even when those pensions are paid into by the employee. If any company outside of public service/government service did this, they would be sued, employees would go on strike, etc. The military does not have this option. And while the vast majority of working age retirees would probably not even notice the difference, it’s a slippery slope. It also goes against the Presidential directive to the Modernization of Retiree Benefits, in that it does not grandfather current military retirees/servicemembers into the old program. There’s a difference between being grateful for what the military provides– good job with a good income, and eating a crap sandwich.

      • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
        December 16, 2013

        I just want cosign what you just said. Very nice. And, yes, it is a slippery slope. Everywhere you look our benefits are under assault – TRICARE increases, cuts to family programs, and, yes, military pay cuts are still on the table. It is important to stay informed – and to stop the idea that we’re just some trained and brainless animals to send into war, and renege on promises made. We have to let our officials know that we are watching – and we vote.

    • Aubrey Durkin
      December 17, 2013

      I was thinking the same thing…calculating what I would make in 20 if I make Chief, and I wasn’t looking at nearly that! LOL.

  3. Jodi
    December 16, 2013

    Carol–

    Actually you do sign a contract when you first enlist/are commissioned. Retirement is mentioned in the original contract– mine states active duty service commitment of 4 years, 4 years inactive service commitment with potential to be called back to active duty at any time… If I elect to stay in past 20 years, I am to receive 1/2 my base pay at the time of retirement with two years time in grade (for example I have to be a Colonel with two years time in grade to receive Colonel base pay)… There’s nothing about COLA in the original contract. I also signed a contract every time I went to school, PCSed, or incurred an additional active duty service commitment. Yes, there is a such a word as a military service contract. Every person who elects to enlist or get commissioned signed it, and it is a legally binding contract. If they didn’t, they are in the service illegally.

    • Heather
      December 16, 2013

      Exactly! The contract states the soldier gets 50% BASE PAY at 20yrs retirement. It does not promise extra money for inflation or COLA or TriCare benefits. Congress isn’t even taking COLA or TriCare. They’re reducing the inflation compensation for COLA by 1%. YES, it sucks that retirees won’t be compensated for inflation, but they’re not TAKING retirement money.

      • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
        December 16, 2013

        But they are, thus the $83,000 loss to enlisted families and $124,000 cut to officer families.

      • heather
        December 16, 2013

        The 83000-124000$ is an estimate MOAA made based on current inflation rates. It’s not a real number. They’re guessing that soldiers would get an EXTRA 83000-124000$ if the government adjusted one percent for inflation each year. This year, salaries were adjusted 1.5 percent, so if there was a 1 percent loss on inflation for retirees this year, their cola would still have gone up .5 percent. Saying people are having money taken away is fallacious and misleading. They’re just not getting a raise every year. If inflation were to increase significantly in the next few years a 1 percent lack of increase on cola might become an issue, but the truth is that military and retirement pay has NEVER kept up with inflation. Saying people are going to lose “X” amount of dollars of inflation potential is like trying to predict the weather 2 years from now.

    • bradengl@yahoo.com
      December 19, 2013

      Colas’ were written into U.S. law (By Congress and signed by the president) maybe 40 years ago. Originally the law gave COLA adjustments twice a year to retirees. I can tell you first hand that those of us on active duty were lucky to get a 2 or 3% raise and retirees were getting double digit COLAs since inflation was double digit in the 70′s and early 80′s

  4. Misty
    December 16, 2013

    i’m just curious, how many of you have contacted your elected officials? we can complain here ’til the cows come home and it won’t make any difference. what did or can you do to speak your mind where it will make a difference. thank you MSNN for sharing the info with me, though, without your article i would have been clueless about this.

    • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
      December 16, 2013

      Thanks, Misty – and great point! Yes, please, contact your elected officials and make your voice heard. The first three links listed will get you started.

      -Kelly

    • Aubrey Durkin
      December 17, 2013

      I definitely contacted mine. He never answered despite my tact and sweetness. Perhaps he’s embarrassed?

    • Proudvetandwife
      December 18, 2013

      I contacted our state officials. I was shuffled around by a few offices and got a standard, thank you for calling, at the rest. I also contacted the authors of the budget bill. As soon as I stated “I am a veteran…” I was hung up on. Twice. That’s pathetic!

  5. nevermind
    December 16, 2013

    How many times have any of you actually been shot at by someone trying to kill you? OK…..Now then…let’s put this whole argument in real perspective….until that happens to you personally you need to quit deciding how important retirement pay and compensation is to someone who has been shot at and lived to tell about it….period. There should not be ANY discussion of reductions to the compensation provided to those who stand up for you…and all citizens of these United States….ever…shot over….shot out….

    • Carol
      December 17, 2013

      Your one percent of a COLA has nothing to do with being shot at. Why don’t you tell that to cops. They don’t get that kind of increase every year. I’m sure using your logic you would say well they should. Guess what the country does not have the money for that, period.

    • Pete
      December 17, 2013

      BTW there are no “reductions”. The whole thread is about getting a freakin percent of a COLA. That is not a reduction of retirement as the article erroneously stated.

  6. Allison Wall
    December 17, 2013

    this letter is full of so much misleading information… you do realize that for several years (VERY recently) military retires didn’t even get a COLA due to the federal pay freeze, so 1% less than zero is still ZERO. it is not illegal, or breaking a contract of any kind, for the gov’t to give or not give or take away or not take away a COLA. the military never promised you a rose garden, and they never promised you a COLA. they promised you a retirement based on number of years served, and that is fully and completely intact. we sound like such selfish idiots complaining about some *mysterious* COLAs that may never happen, and meanwhile back in REALITY, what we should all realize is the $124k is some fictitious number and most likely for an O6 over 35 years… and that an E7 doesn’t make $44k in retirement and even if they did, if that was their ACTUAL REAL 50% or 75% this law does NOT reduce that amount to $35k (who comes up with this math?). at least write a letter with real facts, real data and math that is true and makes sense, and then after you write that letter, ask yourself if you wanted sequester to end, then ask yourself do you want a pension (not a COLA) or do you want to be like three cities in CA that are now bankrupt due to unsustainable pensions, or detroit, or the entire state of illinois and all of a sudden have some bankruptcy judge tell you, years into retirement, “no more pension for you”? are you still going to be pining for that 1% of zero? some people don’t even make $124k in a LIFETIME… a LIFETIME! and let’s not forget that if you came in after 1986, there is a chance you might already be under the 1% redux and just not know it… and finally, if you’re a fiscal conservative, it can’t always come out of someone else’s pocket, and you can’t always kick the can down the road (or you’d really just be a donkey in elephant’s clothes…)

    • Allison Wall
      December 17, 2013

      it seems my original post (above) posted as a reply, but it wasn’t meant as a reply to a specific comment, just to this post in general… allison

    • Carol
      December 17, 2013

      Very well said!

    • Pete
      December 17, 2013

      Exactly!

  7. militaryspecialneedsnetwork
    December 17, 2013

    I had no idea the number of retirees, veterans and servicemembers who feel like COLA is not part of their retirement package. This is really very interesting. So for those of you who view it as imaginary, I am assuming that you have written checks to the Federal Government via IRS to pay back the money that you have wrongly been given over the years. Because that’s what we do: we live by our convictions, or else we are hypocrites.

    But I’m actually very serious here. If this is overturned, or voted down today in Senate, for those of you commenting that COLA isn’t part of our benefits, that you don’t need or want it, that the government doesn’t have the money for this, let’s set up a foundation. Let’s take ALL of the COLA that you receive – current rate is 1.5% – and pay it forward. Let’s set up a scholarship fund for children of Wounded Warriors, or pool it to buy durable medical equipment for special need families who have needs that aren’t met by Tricare. We could turn this animosity towards each other into something very, very good.

    Who’s with me?

    • Allison Wall
      December 17, 2013

      Do you even know what the COLA has been for military retirees during the past 5 years – several of those years it was zero, just like all other federal employees.

      • Allison Wall
        December 17, 2013

        I would much rather them take away 1% of some imaginary future number and keep the full 50% or 75% – that’s good math.

      • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
        December 17, 2013

        So to answer the question, that’s a yes? You’ll donate any future COLA to a foundation? Absolutely, keep your 50 or 75%. You don’t want your COLA – the military community as a whole can use it for good.

        Let’s do this!

      • Allison Wall
        December 17, 2013

        I will be happy to donate ZERO, since that’s what cola is many times – it’s way less than the percentage of our salary we donate now.

        Use your brain – this kind of thinking is Union Pension thinking – and it has bankrupted cities across this nation! That’s not responsible.

        Cola amounts are never guaranteed, sometimes they’re there, other years not.

      • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
        December 17, 2013

        Current COLA is set at 1.5% per Military.com (http://www.military.com/benefits/military-pay/allowances/cola-for-retired-pay.html). A lousy 1.5% of your pay – that you don’t want anyway. Won’t be missing much, right? Can we put that to good use? Can we do good with this money? I know we can.

      • Allison Wall
        December 17, 2013

        Yes. I will be thrilled to donate more than 1.5% of our entire income, we do that every year…

      • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
        December 17, 2013

        That is awesome, Allison. I love it.

        Thank you for your family’s sacrifice, service and commitment. Our families really are the best of the best.

    • Lauren Gansemer
      December 17, 2013

      Silence in the woods….

      • Datafreak
        December 17, 2013

        Silence in the woods to my rebuttals also.

    • Datafreak
      December 17, 2013

      Did anyone say they did not want their COLA or were they saying they understand it can be cut/why it needs to be cut? Such a sarcastic suggestion for a professional site just because everyone doesn’t support your stance.

      • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
        December 17, 2013

        No, datafreak, I’m not being sarcastic at all. If there is a movement afoot, let’s do something good with it. Let’s come together and do good.

      • Datafreak
        December 17, 2013

        MSSN, “So for those of you who view it as imaginary, I am assuming that you have written checks to the Federal Government via IRS to pay back the money that you have wrongly been given over the years”. That is not meant to be sarcastic or as a jab to those who don’t support your stance?

  8. militaryspecialneedsnetwork
    December 17, 2013

    Guys, if you don’t agree. It’s totally cool. That’s the amazing thing about America. We all get our say. Thanks to the brave men and women who fight for our freedoms. I’m not going to convince you; you’re not going to convince me. And that’s fine. Move on. The internet is a pretty big place. We can all agree to go to separate corners.

    And Lauren, I’d love to reply, but I don’t see your original comment. Please repost. I replied to Allison.

  9. militaryspecialneedsnetwork
    December 17, 2013

    Hey Folks, this situation is ever evolving. Here is the latest:

    Per AirforceTimes.com through DoD and Pentagon sourcing, this Bipartisan Balanced Budget Act also cuts COLA from retirees who fall under Chapter 61 – retired out due to injury or disability. You know, the Wounded Warriors. Here’s the source:

    http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20131217/BENEFITS05/312170015/Medical-retirees-included-COLA-reductions

    And a second source: http://www.wicker.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=18508212-7e13-4c53-a70e-4b737a823d9c

  10. Proudvetandwife
    December 18, 2013

    Just an observation from a disabled veteran, as well as the spouse of a retired (25yrs) 100% permanently disabled veteran…I wonder if the service members of all of the SME (subject matter expert) spouses on here feel the same way about this slap in the face?? There are plenty of areas to trim the budget without taking away from our veterans, now, or in future entitlements. It is an insult. Yes, my husband retired younger than most civilians, but that was after 25 years of jumping out of planes, multiple deployments and 5 separate head injuries. We have six children that we support, so he continues to work with the Army as a contractor. Because of a severe disability, I am unable to work. So that 1% in COLA makes a difference in our budget. It is wrong, no argument, from any spouse will make me feel less betrayed by the Country WE served. I am sure I will get plenty of responses about you serving along side of them, but as a veteran, I promise you, it is not the same as raising your hand and swearing in.

    • Datafreak
      December 18, 2013

      My husband could care less about the change. He knows we have it good. We were prepared after his 23 years in service and easily could live off his retirement and disability payif we needed to (which isn’t even 100%).

      • bradengl@yahoo.com
        December 19, 2013

        How did you do in math when you were in school. The real loss in lifetime retirement earning resulting from this change is more than $270,000 for the typical E7 retiring with 20 years not the fluff they are talking about. The loss in retired pay does not stop at age 62 since the retired pay at 62 is much lower caused by the 1% reduction so then when the full inflation adjustment is applied the loss continues for the rest of your husband’s life.

      • Allison Wall
        December 19, 2013

        bradengl@yahoo.com – WHERE do you get your math? an E7 retires with about $2250 a month. there is no way, no way, you can get a loss of $270k from retirement age to age 62 when the 1% comes back in.

  11. Chris
    December 18, 2013

    The point that is being lost in all this back and forth…what other group
    is being denied a cost of living increase..congress? Other federal employees? Social Security recipients? Welfare recipients..who else?

    • Allison Wall
      December 18, 2013

      Federal employees with less than 5 years now have to pay a 1.5% higher percentage towards their pension. Military pays nothing towards their pension, and the military’s ACTUAL retirement isn’t being touched. COLAs are never guaranteed. In 2010 and 2011 they were ZERO.

      • bradengl@yahoo.com
        December 19, 2013

        Allison maybe you should check federal law as retiree COLAs have been part of U.S. law for close to 40 years. In the 1970s’ retirees used to get COLAs every 6 months and while we were get a couple percent pay raise retirees were getting double digit increases because inflation was double digit. They have done so much creative math to how they measure the CPI inflation today by arbitrarily changing the formula and no longer considering food, energy or health care costs so now the formula used to quantify the CPI inflation rate is almost a joke. Federal employees also get matching dollars on the first 5% they contribute to the Federal Government’s thrift savings plan and the military does not. The COLA for active duty people is going to be 0.7% less than the stated inflation for 2014 when pay does not keep up with even the understated inflation rate then purchasing power is lost. Even though the current retirement system is 50% of the high three years pay for a 20 year retirement more and more of the pay received by the military in some form of allowance and is not part of their basic pay so does not count for retirement pay computation. A (20 year) 50% retirement today is somewhere around 27% of the service member’s pay and allowances and then is reduced by taxes and survivor benefit plan costs.

      • Charlie
        December 19, 2013

        “reduced by survivor benefit plans”. So what. SBP is a choice. You do not have to have any taken out. In fact unless you die VERY soon after retiring you are a fool to pay it.

      • Allison Wall
        December 19, 2013

        bradengl@yahoo.com – i will reply to my own post since you don’t allow people to reply to yours… COLAs for military retirees were zero for 2010 and 2011 – maybe you need to check your facts. they are not guaranteed. no one ever promised anyone in the military 50% of their pay, just their basic pay.

  12. TLCuddy
    December 19, 2013

    Not to twist any panties : What about those getting their lifetime disability pensions for something they did in a drunken stupor ? I have a very long, extended military family and understand and greatly appreciate the sacrifices. In the private sector, many of these individuals would be lucky to get their immediate medical bills covered before being fired & forfeiting any promise of retirement pension from said employer !
    Yes, I will continue making family sacrifices and contributing to my 401K plan, and hopefully at the young age of 60 (not the age for 100% of SSI) I will be able to collect a sustainable pension from my private sector job. Now with our latest Government Supported Health Care, I’m sure I’ll have extra funds to visit friends & family as well !

    • bradengl@yahoo.com
      December 19, 2013

      This guy needs to get everything he has coming to him. At least he can spell or is good at spell checker.

  13. Judith Bothern
    December 19, 2013

    I dislike the change as well. My son is career military. But I believe that the numbers have been skewed and sensationalized. The 1% reduction is in COLA – cost of living. It is not to base pay. That stays the same. At age 64, the reduction to COLA goes away. So the loss in income is 1% COLA only spread over the years from retirement to age 64. The $35000 is the estimated AVERAGE over those 20 years or so reduction in COLA. There is no loss in base pay. So what this means is a COLA lowered by about $146 per month until age 64. I still don’t like it but I dislike I sensationalism and propaganda even more.

    • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
      December 19, 2013

      Its actually until age 62, and, the numbers are much higher depending on your son’s rank when he retires.

      Here’s the thing: a covenant was broken. This is but the first step. Did you know Congress is also talking about cutting pay? Did you know that TRICARE has become a joke? The promises are worthless – as are out spouse’s contracts.

      • Pete
        December 19, 2013

        A covenant ???? Wow this is getting deep. I agree that this IS just the first step. That is the one promise OBama will keep. No the numbers are not higher. I really want the COLA but, the article as many have mentioned is full of sensationalization. The numbers are wrong. Also COLA was never promised. All 22 years of active duty we never knew IF we would get a COLA every year and now people act like it is owed to them. About Tricare: it is single handily the best insurance out there. Officers only have to pay $12 copayment and if you use mail order pharmacy most scripts are free. Most civilians would give their right arm for our insurance. Most insurance has gone up to 600 to 2000 for 6 months at best. Tricare for the highest rank is only about 134.00 a quarter. I can’t stand it when people complain about Tricare. Go try to find one cheaper. Smh

  14. Rachel O
    December 19, 2013

    My husband is coming up on 11 years. He has the option to reenlist or get out. Although he enjoys the military, it’s becoming difficult for me to encourage him to stay in. We live modestly, but struggle to make ends meet. But we deal with it because he’s proud to serve his country. Lately though, it seems like the government is not proud, and are definitely not willing to stand up for the military. Why should i ask him to sacrifice his time with his family and risk his life on deployments for an employer that could care less about him? Everyone in DC needs to get their priorities straight or like everyone has said in previous comments, they are gonna lose the quality service men and women that we need in the military.

  15. bradengl@yahoo.com
    December 19, 2013

    ALL THE DISCUSSION I HAVE HEARD DEALING WITH THE BUDGET DEAL IS MISSING THE BOAT on the real damage this budget deal does to military retirees. The largest error has been that none of the discussion has quantified the loss in lifetime retired pay. The damage to the military retirement does not stop at age 62 since the retired pay being received is much lower caused by the proposed inflation minus one percent formula when the full inflation adjustment takes effect. If you assume 3 percent inflation (historically it has been slightly higher than that) that would be 2% COLAs until age 62 and then go up to the full 3 percent inflation adjustment. The result of this 1% reduction for a E7 retiring with 20 years’ service would have his retired pay reduced from around $4,198 per month at age 62 down to $3,354 per month. At age 62 the 3 % inflation adjustments would be applied to the much lower retired pay. The result will be a total loss in retired pay to the person’s 75th birthday of around $272,000 or almost $448,000 if the person is lucky enough to live to be 85 years old. I work with numbers and the numbers promoted by Congress on the effects to retirees are as bad as Obama care is to healthcare.
    In addition to the above inexcusable damage to military retirees lifetime retirement there is the existing damage being done to all pensions and benefits that are tied to the consumer price index (CPI) inflation formula. The first creative math done to the formula was the “Greenspan effect” where the government commented “that when something that is part of the consumer price index (CPI) goes up in price, consumers simply find a cheaper substitute” and no one objected to this “fluff” so magically the new formula cut the stated inflation by 1/3rd. The next creative math was when they changed the formula to CORE INFLATION and eliminated energy, food/commodities and health care from the formula. I don’t need to tell you about the food or energy inflation (gasoline has doubled in price in the 5 years Obama has been in office and the cost of electricity/heating is more expensive) and health care has average 8% inflation for the last 30 years. These costs are not considered any longer. ON TOP OF THAT THEY WERE ATTEMPTING TO IMPLEMENT THE “CHAIN INFLATION” WHICH WOULD ARTIFICIALLY REDUCE THE STATED INFLATION RATE ANOTHER HALF OF A PERCENT. If they keep doing creative math to the process we are going to have to start writing a check as a rebate at the end of the year as they will start saying we are in a deflation situation even though we don’t have enough money to make ends meet.

    • Allison Wall
      December 19, 2013

      again, let’s use FACTS – this quote is not a fact: “The result of this 1% reduction for a E7 retiring with 20 years’ service would have his retired pay reduced…” no, no no… his/her RETIREMENT pay is not reduced. they still get their retirement pay of 50% or whatever % they retired under. that is retirement pay. COLAs are not guaranteed. sometimes they are zero. they never keep up with inflation. AND more voodoo math. an E7 will NOT make that much in retirement every month. my husband will retire as an 04 and he will not make $4198 per month. USE FACTS!

  16. Allison Wall
    December 19, 2013

    an E7 that retires at 20 years will make about $2250 per month. FACT.

  17. Bob
    December 19, 2013

    Are Datasfreak and Allison Wall the only ones with military knowledge and common sense? Militaryspecialneedsnetwork, you keep quoting the article but, guess what? It is inaccurate. You can say “But they are, thus the $83,000 loss to enlisted families and $124,000 cut to officer families.” until the cows come home and it won’t make it true. Time and time again people have explained the math to you and those numbers just are not true even over the lifetime of retirement.
    Also saying we don’t believe a COLA is a part of our retirement benefits is was never the issue. The article said we are loosing our retirement. My ‘retirement’ will be the exact same number as it was this year, hence no reduction. I will not get the 1 percent of the COLA in 2015 which we have not gotten in various years. That my dear is not reducing retirement. This article could have been written to encourage people to write congressmen about their COLA. Instead it used a misleading headline to get a bunch of enlisted complaining instead of banding together. Way to go. I bet a lot of E 7 s are wondering why they are not getting 35 k a year, oh wait a minute they are not b/c they know they don’t. Btw, they don’t all risk their life 24/7 or have you never had a shore duty? Besides like others have said other then hazardous pay (active duty) we don’t get paid for ‘danger’ and don’t expect to either.

  18. wcp
    December 20, 2013

    I earned my retirement pay and opted for Retired Reserve status from the Guard in order to get my COLA over the years until I am 60. All of you that aren’t upset about it and think that it wasn’t promised blah blah blah can just bend over and take it then. You obviously don’t understand how the Gov’t works in terms of erosion of benefits – chipping away by precedent. If you don’t feel cheated by someone changing the rules on you after you did your duty to the best of your ability, retired honorably after operating under those rules – then I don’t relate to you at all. I, on the other hand, see a Federal Gov’t rife with bloat and excess and think cuts should come elsewhere from programs and entitlements to those individuals who DID NOT take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and re-enlist several times. If potentially 1% of COLA is minuscule to you and shouldn’t be worried about – then let it come out of that massive piece of bloated Farm Bill legislation. My E-7 retirement after 10 years Active Duty and 11 Years Guard isn’t all that great to begin with. How exactly do you expect to ATTRACT, RETAIN and keep MORALE up for the world’s best military? I, on the other hand, will join others in contacting my Congressmen and those on the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission and fight as much and as long as I can. The rest of you that think we should “Embrace the Suck” can just go and do that.

  19. Laura
    December 20, 2013

    Will someone please explain the math to me because i aced college level calc and i still don’t understand the math. My husband retired from the Marine Corps as a 1st Sgt (E5) after 20 years in 2005. Just to make the numbers easy, let’s say he makes about 36,000 in retirement including tax-free disabilty pay. If he doesn’t receive 1% in COLA this January, isn’t that only $30 per month? What am I missing here? How are you coming up with hundreds of dollars lost per month or having just enough money for a car payment? Don’t get me wrong, I am just trying to understand the numbers, I agree that we are on a very slippery slope with a Congress thathows very little respect (Nancy Pelosi)

    • Datafreak
      December 20, 2013

      Laura, from what I understand they are relying on POTENTIAL growth of COLA due to inflation and the investment of that COLA and its earnings.

      • Laura
        December 20, 2013

        Thanks. I figured that’s what they were doing, but the numbers still don’t make any sense. I understand the anger, and the disrespect, I feel it myself; but I don’t understand why they exaggerate the numbers to the point of saying they would be reduced to a car payment.

      • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
        December 20, 2013

        Because of math. So since the figure touted by every writer of every article on this fact is incorrect ($44,000 for an E7 retirement – that’s with inflation when that E7 turns 62), let’s go with a different number. I think someone up thread said it would be closer to $24,000 per year for that E7 retirement pay. This is the calculator I used. I left the economic factors alone, because, frankly, IDK what current levels for those options are: http://militarypay.defense.gov/mpcalcs/Calculators/FinalPayHigh3Result.aspx

        SO. $24,000 per year retirement pay. That’s $2,000/month. Now take out taxes. Say 25%? That brings it down to $1500. Subtract Tricare fees, copays, cost shares, etc and you could be looking at a number closer to $1200-$1300/month. Again, everyone’s exact situation will be different. But my point was, really, that this retirement check is not going to support a family.

        If that retiree is able-bodied, and able to find employment, that’s one thing. Add in PTSD, disabilities, more copays, and a spouse who is, perhaps, a primary caregiver for the vet or children, and this family is in for a world of hurt.

        Kelly

      • Datafreak
        December 20, 2013

        Every writer of every article was probably using the original article’s “facts”, lol.

        However, retirement pay is for retirement, not to support a family with kids. It is used in your elderly years to support you when you are no longer able to work. By investing your retirement (or secondary pay as we do) you should end up with a nice nest egg upon true retirement around age 62.

  20. Laura
    December 20, 2013

    (con’t) …a congress that shows very little respect for our military and the sacrafices they made (Nancy Pelosi should be ashamed of herself).

  21. Laura
    December 20, 2013

    I know … Meant to say 1st Sgt E8 … Typing from a smart phone.

  22. Laura
    December 21, 2013

    thank you, Kelly. I suspected that the initial numbers were inflated, and everybody just ran with those; either that, or my husband is being cheated. I also agree that $24,000 is not a lot of money to support your family. but there are some things that you did not account for in your analysis. military retirees with a disability receive disability pay. this pay is tax free, and on top of the regular retirement pay. it is based on the percent of disability that they have. in my husbands case, he makes an additional $1000 per month tax free, and he is 50 percent disabled. and tri care fees, co-pays, etc. are not $200 toe $300 per month.

    • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
      December 21, 2013

      Well they would be for my family. We have two children with autism. My script and therapy copays add up very quickly. In fact, even on Prime, their script copays set us back $200 every month. That isn’t counting anything else – not my other two children’s doctor visits, mine, or even my BCP copay.

      That’s the thing. No one is looking at anything except their own life. For you, the COLA cut wont hurt. That’s awesome! For tens of thousands of families like mine – it will.

      • Bob
        December 21, 2013

        Why did you ever “expect” a COLA? You should budget very year without a COLA. It was never a guarantee. The bigger picture is that the 6 million cut for the govt is nothing in the overall budget. there needs to be bigger cuts in other places. 6 mil does nothing but hurt the military.

      • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
        December 21, 2013

        It’s 6 Billion, not million.

        But yes, other cuts are needed.

      • bob
        December 21, 2013

        typo, big deal. The point is the savings for the national debt by not giving 1 % of our COLA is nothing. There need to be drastic cuts, especially in programs that are not needed but everyone will cry…”no don’t cut that,,, that IS important” . Our country and this economy cant afford the lack of cuts and the huge spending of this administration.

      • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
        December 22, 2013

        It’s saving $6 billion, and that’s a start, right? But then, they added $63 billion in new funding. So what’s the point in us taking the hit? There isn’t one. We didn’t DO anything except hurt the military family. No net gain for the government, no positive impact on the economy or our country. What. Was. The. Point?

  23. Laura
    December 21, 2013

    for our family, under Tricare Prime, it only cost us about $40 a month. copays are only $12, whether it was a simple doctors visit or surgery. there are no deductibles. again. I think it’s unconscionable to change the rules in the middle of the game. but I think magnifying the impact is only going to cause people to become very anxious about their situation when that level of anxiety is not necessary.

    • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
      December 21, 2013

      $73 dollars for scripts this week for my son (two scripts). Over $50 for my other son (3 scripts). Going back to pharm today to pick up 3 more for one son, and 1 for me. Scripts are of varying copays. I am standard, my boys with special needs are Prime.

      It’s not magnifying the impact – it is freaking reality for families like mine. Again, not being in my shoes, you don’t understand. You saying what YOUR situation doesn’t lessen MY situation. It’s great that YOUR copays don’t amount to much. MINE, clearly, do.

  24. Laura
    December 21, 2013

    Kelly, I just read your response. just FYI, have you ever tried Express Scripts? we have a lot of meds in our family too, and Express Scripts has saved us so much money.

  25. Laura
    December 21, 2013

    and I do have empathy for you and others. I am just putting it in perspective. during the last government shutdown, my husband was forced to work every day without pay. we had zero income coming in, except for his military retirement. he is an explosive detection dog handler for TSA, and as such was essential personnel. if he did not show up for work for any reason, he would have been AWOL. we could not collect unemployment, and no one even knew about our situation not even the media. all they talked about were the furloughed workers. it was very frustrating.

    • Laura
      December 21, 2013

      and we were one of the lucky families. baggage screeners, for example, were in the same boat. but the majority of them do not have retirement pay or even enough savings to put gas in their car to get to a job that they were forced to go to. yet the only thing people were complaining about was the closing of national parks.

  26. Pingback: Shethinkers 18 – Queer Christmas | Secular Shethinkers

  27. Tim
    December 22, 2013

    My name is Tim I am a contractor working with SF forces in Afghanistan . While I am not in the military I work with these great men a women everyday. I have read most of the comment’s left on this forum. I would like to add my point of view. I know that not everyone will agree with me and that is understandable .

    Our men and women in uniform are the most under appreciated under paid profession in the US in my opinion . Have we not asked enough of our men and women in the Military to include their family’s and many of you on this page ?. For the last 13 years our men and women in uniform and their family’s have endured 2 wars with multiple deployments stop gap measures and a host of other laws to keep our men and women in uniform serving in a war zone . Some of the Men and women have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their service to our great nation. Many other of our soldiers have returned home with life altering injuries from IED’S gunshot wounds and a host of other issues from PTSD suicide drug and alcohol addictions.

    Some of these injuries affect you people on this page. A lot of you here on this page were there to answer the call when our nation needed you the most Sept 11 and other campaign’s. You served our nation with honor and dignity , You never complained when you were asked to do that mission, You did the mission no questions asked. You and many other’s have served our great nation believing that you would be taking care of for your service . You honored your end of the bargain.

    I also understand that there has to be cuts made somewhere. But while they were cutting 6 billion from the Military benefits our Government gave 4.2 billion to illegal aliens and welfare programs . I am sorry I just don’t the logic in that . The men and women in our military earned those benefits . And its not just the COLA that was cut. There are cuts in programs that are needed for our wounded warriors and their family’s . I think it is a travesty .

    I would also like to comment on the job status as well . While many veterans have served our county a lot of what they do in the military does not translate to a civilian job . Yes they are still young when they retire. While the soldier did 20 years or more serving our county when they get out they are basically starting over because their MOS has no civilian equivalent . So you have vets having a hard time with employment and in some cases taking low wages for a job that in the military were paid somewhat decent wages. And those benefits are needed

    I think it is time that we quit asking our vets and their family’s to sacrifice for the greater good of our country . Have our men and women in uniform and their family’s and many of you on this page not given enough already .

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