Military benefit cuts coming

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Veterans groups have vowed to fight pending cuts in military pension and funding. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, “Reform of military compensation can’t be avoided.” For military retirees under the age of 62, they are part of the new budget deal passed by Congress last week.

The military community had a barrage of protests; lawmakers said all they can do is review the cuts next year and possible reverse them.  Secretary Hagel commented, “We know that many proposals will be controversial and unpopular, tough decisions will have to be made.”

An army private with fewer than two years of service and no dependents earns on average about 40 thousand dollars annually. About two-thirds of that money is base pay, rent housing, food allowance, and no taxes paid.

An army captain with six years of service and no dependents averages about 94 thousand dollars annually and gets him same benefits as the private.

Active duty members get all their health care free and their families get  care of at military treatment facilities. If dependents use a private doctor, dentist or pharmacy, they get the care through the department’s Tricare system, paying no premiums and no co pays.

Critics say that all these benefits for the military men for 20 years of work are overly generous. Retirees say they deserve if for doing the risky jobs that are tough on them and their families. Military personal also stated that most Americans don’t volunteer for doing what they do.

There are nearly two million retirees currently getting military pensions at an annual cost to the Defense department of 4.5 billion dollars. 840,000 of those retired veterans are under the age of 62 and more than 80 percent of those were enlisted as opposed to higher-paid officers.

Starting December first of 2015, cost of living adjustments for pensions of people under 62 would be modified. They would get a catch up pay when they reach 62, but it isn’t the same. 72,000 dollars in benefits over a lifetime of military service pay would be lost.

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