The controversial cuts to pensions for military retirees will most likely not affect veterans with disabilities, Capitol Hill aides told The Associated Press.
In late December, President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, a $1 trillion-plus spending bill that authorizes appropriations for defense activities and military benefits. The measure cuts annual cost-of-living increases for military retirees under the age of 62 by 1 percent, saving the Department of Defense an estimated $6 billion over the next 10 years.
Initially, the cuts to COLA applied to the more than 63,000 military retirees with disabilities, the news source reported. However, lawmakers say that it will most likely be reversed, and veterans with disabilities will no longer be affected by the COLA decrease.
After 20 years in the military, servicemembers are eligible to retire at half pay, and can begin claiming their pensions as early as age 38. According to FOX News, the cuts to COLA could result in a lifetime loss of $72,000 in benefits for a sergeant first class. Daniel Dellinger, national commander of the American Legion, stated in an Op-Ed for USA Today that nearly 2 million military retirees will be hit by these losses in military benefits.
"Military retirees and their families depend on those benefits, and they do not deserve to be singled out for penalization," Dellinger wrote.