Stan Spangle Sr.: Budget Act slices veterans retirement pay
It’s here — a brand new year. How many resolutions have you already broken? Be honest!
Before I forget again, let me remind you that tomorrow is the first Saturday of the first quarter of this new year. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at 2014’s first quarterly Get-together. The time is 11 a.m. till we get all the questions (that we can) answered. We meet at Highland United Methodist Church, 1015 Mill Avenue in High Point. Bring a vet. Hopefully the weather will be kind to us. See you there.
The Retired Enlisted Association recently testified before the Military Compensation and Pension Modernization Commission (MCPMC) about the needs and concerns of the enlisted ranks of all the uniformed services. Deirdre Parke Holleman, TREA’s executive director in Washington, was one of the representatives on the enlisted panel. It was an interested and engaged panel of six commissioners who discussed pay, retirement, TRICARE, commissaries and exchanges, VA benefits, education benefits and much, much more.
This could be a bad time for all of our earned benefits. I say again: IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD! Members of the MCPMC group are clearly, willing to listen. They have a website where they ask for and collect comments. Please, let them know how much these earned benefits mean to you. Go to: www.mcrmc.gov and click on comment and tell them why and how these earned benefits are important.
Also, continue to send emails and letters to your senators and representatives. TREA has prepared sample emails available for you. Go to: http://www.capwiz.com/trea/issues/bills/
The members of Congress who came up with the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 — the agreement that Congress passed on Wednesday of the week before Christmas and sent to the president, who said he will sign it — came up with a budget that stabbed the military people in the back. Congress has decided that military people make too much money (sound familiar) and are a threat to the nation’s financial well-being. So unless they change the law they just passed, starting January 2015 military retirees under 62 will have their COLAs reduced by 1 percent until they reach 62. This could reduce retired pay by 20 percent for those affected by this law.
It’s continually mentioned that upon reaching 62, their retired pay will be recalculated to put back the COLA percentages previously removed to make the retired pay whole again. The cumulative effect of this law will be to take about $79,000 to $83,000 out of the pocket of the typical enlisted retiree who retires at 42 after serving 20 years. That’s where they find the $6.2 billion in savings.
Pray for the families of the fallen. Semper Fi.
Gy/Sgt. Stan Spangle Sr., USMC, (Ret.) is a 21-year veteran of the Marine Corps, serving in Korea and Vietnam. He’s a member of numerous veterans organizations. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.