Friday, December 27, 2013

We Can't Allow Our Veterans to get Short Changed

Cuts in Military Pensions:
The Pentagon's top civilian says it's time to tame burgeoning military personnel costs, but he's facing a test of wills with the nation's powerful veterans groups, which want no cut in their benefits. 
Veterans groups are fighting curbs in annual pension increases for military retirees under age 62 that are part of the new budget deal passed by Congress last week and awaiting President Barack Obama's signature. After a barrage of protests from the military community, lawmakers said they'll review the cut next year and possibly reverse it. But Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday that reform of military compensation can't be avoided. 
Read the rest HERE.

Now to add insult to Injury..

1 percent pay raise latest pinch for troops, veterans struggling to pay bills:
President Obama on Monday signed an executive order giving military personnel and civilian federal workers a 1 percent pay raise, the first raise for civilians in four years. But for military families, it was another hit. 
Military members had been receiving an annual pay increase of 1.8 percent, and ther order comes as more benefit cuts loom on the horizon for military families due to tightening budgets. 
For active-duty troops and veterans, making financial ends meet has gotten increasingly difficult in the past four years, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a non-profit think tank, which estimates nearly 340,000 veterans receive public money for housing and 900,000 veterans live on food stamps. 
A further 5,000 active-duty troops are currently receiving SNAP, or food stamp assistance. Most are junior troops with large families, according to the Pentagon, which points out that those on active duty who need this help represent .01 percent of the 44 million Americans who qualify for food stamps. 
For Pvt. Heather Kready, who served with an Army medical support team, explaining to her kids why they have so little money is difficult. 
“I mean, their lives revolve around pushing me in a chair,” Kready explained while huddled by a bonfire with other wounded veterans at the Bethesda Walter Reed Medical Center. “My kids know how to break down a wheelchair, and they're 10 and 13.” 
A soldier's basic pay is $18,194, which is well below the federal poverty line. Rising divorce rates after repeat deployments and child support payments are making it difficult for some active-duty troops and veterans to pay bills. The Defense Department says the salary figure can be deceiving, and that an Army private with less than two years of service and no dependents earns about $40,400 annually if you include base housing and food allowances.
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