Q: There have been a lot of questions regarding the recently proposed -- and now House approved -- budget as it relates to reducing working-age retiree COLA (cost-of-living adjustment) benefits. What can be done to protect these earned military benefits from being cut by Congress?
A: Please contact or go to Capitol Hill today and tell U.S. senators to take the cut to military-retiree COLA out of the budget proposal. As you know, COLA is not very accurate because it does not count cost increases in utilities, food or fuel.
The FY 2014 budget proposal drafted by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., includes a provision that cuts the annual COLA for military retirees by 1 percent a year until they reach age 62.
The cuts will have a devastating and long-lasting impact, reducing retired pay for those who serve a 20-year career by nearly 20 percent at age 62. An E-7 retiring at age 40 today would experience an eventual loss of $83,000 in purchasing power.
Louis J. Celli, Jr.
Director, Legislative Division