Skip to comments.Disabled Military Retirees Not Exempt from Pension Cuts in Budget Deal
Posted on 12/17/2013 6:07:16 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
A provision cutting the pensions of military retirees in the bipartisan budget deal that the Senate will vote on this week does not exempt disabled veterans, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.
Disabled retirees were previously thought to be exempt from the changes to military retiree pay, which could cost servicemembers up to $124,000 over a 20-year period.
The Free Beacon previously reported that military retirees under the age of 62 would receive 1 percentage point less in their annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in the plan crafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D., Wash.).
The section of the U.S. code that has been altered also applies to disabled servicemembers, many of whom have been wounded in combat.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, called the change unthinkable.
It has been asserted that the controversial change to military retirees pensions affects those who are working-age and still in their working years, with the clear suggestion being that these individuals are able to work, Sessions said in a statement. Thats why I was deeply troubled when my staff and I discovered that even individuals who have been wounded and suffered a service-related disability could see their pensions reduced under this plan.
It is unthinkable that this provision would be included in a deal that spares current civilian workers from the same treatment, he said. An equivalent amount of savings and more can be easily found, and I hope the Senate will move to address the unbalanced treatment of our servicemembers before considering the legislation any further.
An original copy of a summary of the budget agreement, obtained by the Free Beacon, explicitly stated that disabled veterans would be exempt.
This provision modifies the annual cost-of-living adjustment for working-age military retirees by making the adjustments equal to inflation minus 1 percent, reads the summary, which was sent on Dec. 10. This change would be gradually phased in, with no change for the current year, a 0.25 percent decrease in December 2014, and a 0.5 percent decrease in December 2015.
This would not affect servicemembers who retired because of disability or injury.
The summary now posted on the House Budget Committee website removed the sentence relating to disabled retirees.
The Ryan-Murray deal affects Chapter 71, Section 1401 of the United States Code, which deals with the pay of military retirees.
As the code is currently written, servicemembers can be eligible for early Chapter 61 retirement if it is determined that, due to a physical disability, that individual is no longer able to perform the duties of their office, grade, or rank. The individual must hold a disability rating of 30 percent or more according to Department of Defense standards, and the disability must be the proximate result of performing their duties during a time of war or national emergency.
Section 403 of the budget agreement amends section 1401a(b) of Title 10, U.S. Code, adding the CPI minus one percent provision, lowering the COLAs of disabled retirees.
Wounded servicemembers are entitled to Veterans Administration Disability Benefits, which remain unchanged by the budget deal. However, the change to Chapter 61 retirement could account for about 55 percent of a wounded service members disability pay, according to a Senate aide.
For example, a 28-year-old staff sergeant (an E-5 rank) who is forced to retire after 10 years would see approximately $50,000 in lost compensation over the next 40 years.
Rep. Ryan told the Weekly Standard that the changes are appropriate because servicemen and women who retire in their 40s after serving for two decades are still young enough to maintain a job.
We give them a slightly smaller adjustment for inflation because theyre still in their working years and in most cases earning another paycheck, Ryan said.
Sens. Roger Wicker (R., Miss.), Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), James Inhofe (R., Okla.), and Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.) have said they are opposed to the deal because it cuts the benefits of military retirees, while not imposing equal cuts to federal civilian workers.
Will Allison, spokesman for the House Budget Committee, said the COLA provision does not offer any exemptions.
The federal government has no greater obligation than to keep the American people safe, Allison told the Free Beacon. And it must take care of the men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line. To meet our obligations to our service men and women, we must make sure their long-term benefits are on a sound, financial footing.
Specifically to your question, Allison said, the COLA provision does not include additional exemptions, but to clarify: The Bipartisan Budget Act does not affect any benefits provided to veterans in compensation for disabilities suffered as a result of their service.
There are no changes made to disability-compensation benefits and no changes that would impact their VA-provided medical care, he said.
The Senate is expected to pass the deal by a simple majority this week, after it cleared a crucial procedural vote on Tuesday.
Over the weekend, Ryan said it is possible to make changes to the military retiree provision, since it will not take effect immediately.
We delayed this provision so that it doesnt take effect until the year 2016, which gives Congress and the military community time to address the broader compensation issue, including this provision, if people believe theres a better way to solve this problem, he told the Weekly Standard.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D., Mich.) also has said he will review the cut to military pensions.
Were going to look at the whole benefits issue for veterans, Levin told Stars and Stripes on Friday. I cant obviously make a commitment, but I am committed to reviewing this and looking at the impacts.
Active Duty/Retiree ping.
But welfare to illegals will continue. What’s wrong with this picture?
Yet NOT one CUT for aid/welfare to illegal immigrants...
The military does not vote for Democrats and the Democrats only do what is in their personal and collective best interests. They could care less about the military and prefer to cater to their own constituencies: the indolent, the lazy, the grifters, the criminals, the self indulgent, the useless in society.
The Republicans refuse to stand up to this immoral and corrupt bargain and simply look for how they can make a deal that will keep themselves on the gravy train. Those who have sacrificed for their country just do not count in the political equation.
sounds like a very bad idea
My congressman, Duncan Hunter, voted FOR this. Representative Hunter voted to take money from the pockets of veterans, and disabled veterans. Shame on you, Duncan Hunter!
Hey fellow Georgia veterans!
Our two voted “yea”. I won’t be voting for either next time.
How about you?
And a Big Thank You to those that voted “nay”
Fasten your seat belt. Military compensation spending must be cut a LOT more than this mere COLA reduction rate in order to be sustainable. Secretary of Defense Hagel testified recently that compensation costs are already eating up a huge share of the DOD budget and if left unchecked, will consume a majority of the budget in a few years. That’s simply unsustainable.
America demands Justice for the Fallen of Benghazi!
Don’t buy into this divisive arguement. The left would love to set the active and retired components against each other in a cage match when the real enemy to be cut off is the Free Shit Army.
But of course Chuck Shumer and Marco Rubio need their govt swag.
This country is surely in some sort of breakdown with this happening.
We have many sorts of Americans nowadays . . .those who clearly love the country, will still give their lives and honor for it, and then those who are really just here to benefit themselves, and nothing more. The “benefiters” are clearly ok with pushing the patriots out in front to take the bullet, to be blown to smithereens, to sacrifice their youth and best years of their lives, their fortune, their life and family, just so THEY can get theirs — in whatever way that might be.
There is truly no unifying sense of right or wrong anymore, if we can allow this. Society is disintegrating before our eyes. It’s just just dog eat dog now ...no hallowed country — no real nation.
I don’t know it anymore.
10 seconds before I read this, I thought I couldn’t be more incensed with this government of ours.
10 seconds later, I was proved wrong.
We could generate almost four times the savings by cutting off the obamaphone program.
Of course take money from those that sacrifice the most, those that gave up birthdays, and holidays with their families, missed kids being born, and spent anniversaries in the dark cold places of the world, those that put their very lives on the line and give the ultimate sacrifice for over 20 years of their lives so that everyone in America can remain free, yes those that stand the watch on the walls of freedom fall victim to the political transformation of this once great nation. Certainly we can’t ask the people getting their free Obamaphones, Obamaloans, Obamahomes, WIC, SNAP, EBT Welfare payments, Obamacare, Medicaid to take just a little less, No, certainly we can’t hold accountable the crack Ho who is busy making more babies to qualify for more government bennies as she emulates Obamas life of Julia, No we must add insult to injury and demand that the verteran who did their time and sacrificed so much to continue to sacrifice some more. When will it be enough? The slippery slope of liberalism strikes again....
Weasle republicans who can go home and say “I voted against it.”
Mccain is a disabled vet. But he won’t worry about it since he married a drug addled millionairess.
Sounds like the GOP has decided that the veteran vote is not important.
In my case they can be sure of it.
The GOP is a party of cowardly actions. Time for a new Party. This Country is better off without a Party that sucks the good will and money and hope out of its good citizens. Now is the time to get rid of and destroy this traitorous GOP. We can’t wait anymore.