Home Veterans How the US Government Broke Faith With Those Who Served

How the US Government Broke Faith With Those Who Served

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Did you miss my latest article over at Military 1?

Many of us in the military community are fired up about the 1% COLA cut for our military retirees. If you haven’t been following the bill that passed, let me break it down for you. This affects military retirees younger than 62. COLA (Cost of Living Allowance) would decrease by: .25% in December 2014; .5% in December 2015; 1% (the full amount) in December 2016

According to MOAA (Military Officer Association of America), the calculations of money lost on our military families range from:

– An E-7 retiring this year with 20 years of service would see an overall impact of $83,000 loss by age 62.
– An O-5 retiring this year with 20 years of service would see an overall impact of $124,406 loss by age 62.

how the 1% COLA cuts financially affect our military retirees MOAA financial chart over time

Vote First, Act Later

Some politicians have said that while they didn’t like the terms of the Budget Act, they felt compelled to sign and will get the provision repealed in the future, by saying that it doesn’t fully go into effect until 2016. This isn’t good enough for our veterans.

We need this fixed as soon as possible because these service members and families signed on the dotted line for specific benefits. They continued to serve over and over again, taking blow after blow, knowing that they could count on the promises their government made to them. Now, they are being forced to pay for a war and balancing the budget on their backs, after they’ve done more for this country than any other American. It’s abhorrent.

The Cost of Service

Let me tell you about the cost of military service for most families. Often times, the military spouse has a hard time successfully keeping a career or remaining gainfully employed for the majority of the 20+ years her spouse has been in service. If she earned roughly $50,000 before marrying her service member, by now she’s out one million dollars in potential earnings.

lone survivor adLet me tell you about the cost of military service for most families. Often times, the military spouse has a hard time successfully keeping a career or remaining gainfully employed for the majority of the 20+ years her spouse has been in service. If she earned roughly $50,000 before marrying her service member, by now she’s out one million dollars in potential earnings.

Then there’s the cost of living in less than ideal duty stations. The schools are almost always undesirable. On top of a stressful job, parents worry about their kid getting jumped or bullied at school and whether or not he or she is receiving the proper education. Vehicles are often driven into the ground trying to get one’s family to safe environments for activities or getting kids to an area with competitive sports. Undesirable duty stations can cost our service members tens of thousands of dollars.

Another impact of military service on the family includes the stress placed on children after they are torn from their friends and environments PCS after PCS. How about the endless nights of tears because Daddy is in a combat zone and they’re scared he won’t return. What is that worth?

There’s a reason why the military divorce rate is substantially higher than any civilian divorce rate. It’s because this life is hard. It’s full of challenges and anyone who has made it through twenty years has lived a lifetime’s worth of trials and tribulations.

Call it what they want, Congress men and women can’t tell us that we’re like the civilian sector and we need to pay in. What civilian job do you know that requires families to relocate every other year? Or made Daddy or Mommy go on an 8-month business trip, time and time again? How many spouses were able to work and support their family financially? How many anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, or even children’s births have those same civilians missed? Go watch Lone Survivor and tell us that these service members didn’t pay in.

What About the ‘Disabled Only’ Clause

Congress members are currently looking at doing away with the 1% COLA cut to our medically retired service members. How about those who choose not to medically retire and continue to serve despite the fact that their legs or arms have been blown off or they’re blind? They and everyone else who put their lives on the line for our country deserve what they were promised.

Ryan talks about why they’ve delayed the program to 2016 to get it fully implemented. He states that many of our veterans are employed elsewhere and don’t need the money. Bullshit. That is an earned benefit Congress is taking away. Furthermore, many veterans have struggled with finding employment after retirement. For generations, part of the cost of war has been dealing with stress and PTSD; a factor which makes it even harder for many of our vets to be able to work. And now those same veterans are being asked to pay for a war that they never wanted in the first place? It’s disgusting.

Why It’s Wrong

Today, we have an all-volunteer service. The draft was ugly and no one wants to go back to that. However, I fear that this is just the beginning of cuts to our veterans. Morale is being affected and it’s just going to get worse. Our troops are losing faith in their government and I believe our force will be weakened because of this. I question whether or not tomorrow’s youth will trust our government enough to put their lives on the line.

If you want to join the fight, contact Congress today. Let them know that this is a moral issue and they need to remove this provision immediately. Use social media and share the message on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Make sure to use our #KeepYourPromise hashtag. Make your voice heard and honor our veterans as they deserve to be honored!

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, I did see the cut in our miltary retirement benefits and I think it is entirely wrong. Our military men and women sarcrifice so much (as do their families) and yet our congressmen sacrafice so little in comparision, and they wouldn’t think of cutting their retirement. Very unfair.

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