Retiree Benefits Face More Attacks

July 26, 2011 | Terry Howell

Unless you have been hiding under a rock somewhere, you have heard that the deficit hawks are focused on TRICARE premiums and overhauling the military retirement system for current servicemembers and future military retirees as a means of cutting cost.

This week NPR interviewed Todd Harrison, Senior Fellow for Defense Budget Studies, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (an independent, non-partisan policy research institute). Mr. Harrison told NPR that the current TRICARE system for retirees under age 65 is “incentivizing more of these retirees to stay in the military health care system rather than take health care from their private sector insurers that they can get through their employers.” Harrison, also quoted Gates’ favorite phrase that TRICARE is “eating the Defense Department alive.”

[Isn’t the TRICARE option one of the biggest incentives to stay in for 20 or more years? Are retirees at fault for choosing to use the benefits they have EARNED?]

Contact your elected officials to let them know how you feel about this issue.

About Terry Howell

Before becoming the Managing Editor for Military.com, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.

Comments

  1. The goverment is going after senate or presidential perk but the military retiree is fair game shame on them. With out us they wouldn't be free.

    • PARustyNail says:

      Before any military (RETIREE) cuts are made, Congress and the President need to have a mass reduction in their pay and perks. We're always (active duty and retiree) the first place they look to cut spending, but they make sure that their "automatic" pay increases are in place. They don't earn a dime of it!

      • They did NOT receive an automatic pay increase this year; they voted to stop it. Research it!

      • nanabanana03 says:

        I am appalled that they would even consider making military cuts in any area. The military is what protects our freedom. I would dare say that 98% of the men and women serving made the CHOICE to serve. there is no draft any more. These men and women in the past few years have served in horribly hostile combat zones. They are away from there families and friends. Again, the CHOICE was made by them but thank goodness for their CHOICE! Congress has the nerve to give themselves a RAISE for doing nothing but messing up the government. They want to cut the military funding and no cost of living for those trying to survive on social security. Our system is terribly messed up. We are so far off track of the morals and values our forefathers created this great country on. Look at the "carved in stone" pictures on our government buildings in Washington and it is clear the country was created as One Nation Under God. If we don't get back to that statement and get our corrupt government fixed, we are surely doomed. Thank you men and women of the military for my freedom and for striving to keep that freedom.

      • nanabanana03 says:

        Absolutely agreed. They may have voted to stop their pay increase this time but I think they realize they have gone too far in "taking care of themselves." The shred of hope we may have is that they may still have a teeny tiny concince. Compare their salary and style of living to that of most people in the military!!!

  2. If we weren't engaged in 2 long-duration wars and other "kinetic actions" and they themselves were stripping their perks and retirement benifits it might lend a little more credibiilty to them. But, of course, they'd rather take away from the poor slob who toughs out 20+ years in the enlisted ranks than touch the ruling class perks they enjoy. Utterly disgraceful.

  3. are they going to start with the president and then congress when they start their cutting . also congress dosent pay ssi why cant they_

    • Congress DOES pay SSI – research it!

    • I am not sure if you listened to the Presidential speach a day or so ago…he did place himself out there saying that he is willing to take a cut and pay more taxes…

      • T Willis says:

        He will never include himself with the rest of us. Stop being blind.

      • CONCERNED says:

        That man has been campaigning since the day he was elected. Hes an empty suit running a bunch of nuckle heads that are in turn running this country into the ground.

  4. Why would I pay a high price for insurance through my civilian employer when I have earned the right to use tricare? Those that serve deserve what they earned and no politician has the "right" to strip those benefits from them. Has anyone heard about the politicians putting their benefits on the chopping block? I didn't think so. Don't mess with my or any other veterans retirement check or benefits. Get rid of the foreign aid first and foremost and focus more on the problems this country has but leave the veterans and their benefits out of the political mess..

    • Agree

    • navy wife says:

      ditto!!

    • I agree this is nuts let illegal aliens have free medical care and housing on our money but take our health care and our homes and nothing is said they are using our money to give these things to other countries and aliens but after 22yrs and a 200.00 mth pension we are suppose to give it back and go with out no time to change the way we let our gov do business. Fight for your rights and lets get a class action suit so we can survive we earned this its not welfare

    • I agree with this person my husband worked in the A.F. for more then 20yrs leave the military alone

    • I absolutely agree! My husband served in Vietnam and drunk, slept in, bathed in agent orange and now suffers from diabetes, HBP, skin problems and more and law makers want to mess with Tricare, SS, VA disability and our insurance premiums and co-pays. They truly need to be ashamed! They (law makers) should have to pay for insurance, pay fair amount of taxes and should try to survive on what we make. My father served in WWII and received metal fragments in the back of his neck and had part of his finger blown off and he received $23 per month from a grateful govt!!! I guess I am a little ticked that they now want my husband's $$ too!

  5. Panzer Leader says:

    Do any Congressmen or Senators give up their retired health insurance benefit when they go to work for a private company upon leaving office? Bet they don't. Bet they get their benefits after only two terms. Bet they don't even have to vote on their pay raises, now do they. I can't stand the SOBs.

    • Bonney Maru says:

      They get their benefits after one term not two.

    • Cheryl, a Senator or Congressman only has to be in office one day to get full benefits for life. Why would they spend millions of dollars to run for office if it wasn't a profitable bid. $15000.00 a month, plus perks, for the rest of their lives. Oh, their spouse also.

    • nanabanana03 says:

      Congress has already been told they will not be subject to Obama Care. what does that tell you? How many companies will "drop" retirees" from the insurance they got when they retired saying they are no longer bound to furnish insurance since they can get medical coverage elsewhere!

    • Here are the facts on their retirement: Members elected since 1984 are covered by the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS). Those elected prior to 1984 were covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). In 1984 all had the option of remaining with CSRS or switching to FERS. As with all other federal employees, congressional retirement is funded through taxes and participant contributions. Members under FERS contribute 1.3% of salary into the FERS and pay 6.2 percent salary in SS taxes. They are not eligible for a pension until 50, but only if with 20 years of service. Members are eligible at any age after 25 years of service or age 62. They have to serve at least 5 years to receive a pension. Their pension depends on the years of service and the average of the highest 3 years salary. By law, the starting amount of retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of final salary. According to the Congressional Research Service, 413 retired Members were pensions based on their service as of Oct. 1, 2006. Of this number, 290 had retired under CSRS and were receiving an average pension of $60,972. A total of 123 Members retired with service under both CSRS and FERS or FERS only. Their average pension was $35,952 in 2006

    • To all in this thread – Do some Research!
      Congress has, since 1984, been under FERS, the Federal Employees Retirement System, same as our Civil Service Brethren. They accrue retirement at the rate of 1.7%/year, vesting after 5 (i.e. at least 3 terms for a house member). For that, they can draw 8.5% of the average of their final 3 years base pay at age 62. If they continue to 20 years service (10 terms in the house), they can retire at 50 at 34% of their final 3 average. For this they contribute money (like the Civil Service, unlike the Military)

      Oh, and they pay into SS and they pay for their health care (FEHBP, again like the Civil Service).

      If you go to the Senate website, they nicely spell it out.

  6. thewildcaputo says:

    How come welfare isn't on the chopping block ? Oh I get it they need a future voting base mostly comprised of Illegal aliens and drug addicts who will vote for any one giving them a pay check. I feel sorry for the folks who need those benefits but just don't qualify because they are good people who happened to fall on hard times and there is little or no political gain in helping them I.E. our veterans returning home.

    • Thats pretty sad that you speak about things you no nothing about…and from your tone..it sounds as you had more to say????

      • That's pretty sad for you too, Mario. What part in his post shows he is speaking about things he doesn't know anything about (like your spelling and grammar)? Why isn't welfare on the chopping block? Explain that one, oh wise one. One half of the population pays no taxes. Illegals are here in this country and are a drain on society. Do some research instead of spouting off. There is more going out to illegals than what we gain from illegals. Translators in schools? Migrant worker social workers in schools? What the heck is that, Mario? That is a drain on society. I find it odd that we find we can't ask illegals to speak English and assimilate when we asked legal immigrants to do that previously. Aren't they as smart? Get a clue, Mario. I do have more to say but your tone seems to indicate that you have blinders on and don't really know the world at all.

  7. I was wondering if retirement/pensions are cut do they mean to include Gold Star (Mothers, Wives, Orphans too) who have sacraficed also?

    Time for American Legion and VFW to Chew it up!!!

  8. We may need to pay a bit for some of our benefits. Now is a time for all of us to share in the sacrifice. Sure, we all worked for our benefits but so has everyone else in other jobs. The government clearly wastes a lot of money but we will again be required to be a part of the solution by paying some for our benefits. It isnt that bad folks. We'll have to pay for a part of the benefits.

    • cavtroopermunoz says:

      Get a clue. You think that they shouldn't cut all the billions we send to North Korea and Pakistan first? Not to mention all the money for bs programs like endowment of the arts which thinks pissing on Jesus is art. I hope your not in any position to bargain away our benefits which have already been cut to the bone. Every time I had to go get the injections in my back I was grateful that I served because I earned something besides that broken back. In fact I think your some congressional plant.

      • nanabanana03 says:

        Has anyone looked at the chart showing who the United States owes the most to – China!!!! Can you believe that! Well believe it and then look at what $$$$ we are sending to China! You think this country isn't in a mess! The media gets things so messed up in their reporting, covering up and not reporting the truth. whew, I don't even like to get on my soapbox. I don't profess to know all there is to know about the government but I do know enough to come to the conclusion it is a mess!

      • Retired Marine says:

        In addition to owing China for money we borrowed to finance the operations of the USA, in FY" 2011 we arge giving China $34.1M in foreign aid! Go figure because it surely doesn't make sense. The FY 2011 USA budget provides for over $30B in foreign aid and that is just what is available to the public and doesn't include any confidential foreign which probably double that released to the public. We give money to our enemies while we cut the benefits to the elderly and infirm. We are sooooooo stupid.

    • We all need to share in the sacrifice. I agree, but this mantra is starting to take on an Orwellian and propagandist tone. Who is sharing in the sacrifice? The ones that don't pay taxes now? The ones that get Earned Income and Child Tax Credits though they don't pay anything? The ones that get welfare and complain they don't get enough. Don't you dare drug test them? Don't you dare tell them to have some priorities and don't buy rims or get the nails done? Who needs to share in the sacrifice, Don? People need to read a dictionary and get the idea of sharing really means.

      • Nam. Vet.72 says:

        Agree 100% could not have said it better.

      • Old and Learning says:

        Strong self-assuredness inherently has its own blindspot!

      • You seem have forgotten the ones who can really afford the sacrafice. The Corporations that shipped all the jobs overseas and pay no taxes in the end. The Million-aires that are supposedly the job creators that haven't created any jobs in ten years. And by the way lived under the blanket of freedom that our brothers and sisters have created for them. Wake up people.

    • They have already started by raising the federal taxes withheld in our retirement checks.

    • SHARE IN THE SACRIFICE? I HAVE SACRIFICED MY HUSBAND FOR 7 DEPLOYMENTS, AND HE ALMOST SACRIFICED HIS LIFE THIS YEAR. IS THAT NOT ENOUGH? YOU WANT MY MILK MONEY TOO? YOU DON'T THINK THERE IS ANYYYYYYYYYYYYY OTHER AREA THAT COULD TAKE A HIT BESIDES THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO GIVE UP THEIR LIVES, THEIR LIMBS, THEIR ABILITIES TO WALK AND HAVE NORMAL LIVES? YOU DON'T THINK THAT MAYBE WE COULD CUT A LITTLE WELFARE FOR PEOPLE WHO DO NOTHING FOR US…NO GO AFTER THE PEOPLE WHO AFFORD US OUR FREEDOM. GOOD CALL.

  9. The Govt wants us(retiree)to pay more so they can send the money to countries who hate us and would kill our soldiers at any opportunity. Whats new! This country has lost all intergity and nothing will reverse. These congressmen have no hint what it means to place one"s life on the line in defense of the country.The liberals want to support all their God hating desires and destroy the country from within. :Be all you can be"

  10. Cold War Vet says:

    Damn the government and our career politicians who are worried about nothing more than gaining power over the other party and increasing the endless benefits and perks for themselves. Vote them all out of office in the next election.

  11. The rights to gaining and keeping the benefits of being a service member weighs heavily on most men and women when they choose to stay in or get out. I personally know someone who would not stay in if it werent for the good pay and great benefits. It is truly sad that the government does not see the bigger issue with cutting these perks of the military.. lets recap, the military has A gotten the lowest raise in history; B questioned even reciept of paychecks (navyfederal stepped up to pay their consumers regarless-which shows there is a major deficeit in our government) and C- now were in jeopardy of losing retirement benefits, or some of them. I am sorry but that seems crazy.. these people live their lives waiting to go on their next deployment or move out of state and you mean to tell me that taking away their deserved retirement benefits is the only option we as AMERICA have.. somehow I DO NOT BELIEIVE it… honestly i think it is a COP OUT!!! and they should dig deeper in to the debt and other ways of fixing it /finding a soulution

    • I agree with you, however, what do we the men and women who have served this country now have to offer politicians. We are not rich and therefore don't have the dollars to throw at their campaigns and other escapades. Further, a check on the census site shows most of us veterans are soon to die to good ol' old age as the majority are still Vietnam veterans- who I would imagine don't get a whole lot of money in their military retirement check. I'd imagine at that time there weren't many that made careers out of the military. So what about our votes, do they matter? Remember, we military servants are in the minority as believe it or not folks this other majority, co-citizens we live with, aren't so thankful for what you or I have done when it comes to honoring their side. After all, we have to put on air shows and open up our bases and ships so they can have a peek at how wonderfully we're taking care of their tax dollars- as if we ourselves weren't taxed as well, state tax, medicare, SS, etc. When was the last time GM or some other bank who took millions and billions to stay afloat opened their doors to you? Our local uniform wearers (local PD, fire department, etc) get more respect, more retirement benefits, a higher retirement annuity percentage, and discounts at almost every retailer in town, but you need to watch where you wear your uniform in some places. We need a leader to set all of this straight once and for all. It is an honor to serve your country, whatever your personal reasons for joining at the time were. Kennedy's "ask what you can do for your country" would be heresy at this point in time to these ever indulging, self serving, elites. I do pray God will keep us, forgive us, and favor our nation and we'll have a chance to restore it to a great country AGAIN.

  12. What the Government needs to do is stop sending aid to alot of these other countries and worry about the aid thats needed within our own borders. I believe that would a great first step if only I was alive when it happens…

    • Retired Marine CWO says:

      In FY 2011 – $34.1B in foreign aid to China, $5M to Venesuela, $123.5M to Vietnam, $106.6M to Yemen, $3.9B to Afghanistan, $77.2M to Angola, $20M to Cuba, $1.6B to Egypt, $359M to Haiti, $145.3M to India where a lot of our jobs are going, $729.3M to Iraq, $3B to Israel, $346.6M to Mexico, and on and on and on. We are giving this money away to other countries, including some enemies, while we are cutting support to the elderly, infirm, the military and all the other people that deserve taxpayer support. Why doesn't obama and the Congress go after all the foreign aid. I only have access to public info so who knows how much foreign aid we are giving away in the covert areas. Good grief, how utterly STUPID. Talk about fouled up priorities!

  13. This is uterly redickulas I have served our country for 13 years and this contract will end at 16 years, I will not stay in because of this alot of senior leaders will leave the Marines Corps because of this. I have been deployed in combat operations for 980 days since 2003 let alone this doesn't even count the times that I have been away from my family add another 400 plus days you do the math. I have sacrafied so much and now this….They want to take away the one thing that we work so hard for. They need to look at alot of the social programs, and disaster reliefs that we send money away. This is what happens when you elect a democrat in to office thanks american public for voting the wrong way, oh and your welcome for your freedom.

    • GUEST ABOVE…THANK YOU FOR YOU SERVICE YOU ARE A HERO. YOU ARE SO CORRECT WHEN YOU SAY MANY SENIOR LEADERS WILL BE EXITING. THE HARDSHIP PLACED ON SOLDIERS AND MARINES AND THEIR FAMILIES IS ONLY MADE BETTER BY KNOWING YOU WILL HAVE SECURITY IN THE END. SPECIAL FORCES AND SENIOR LEVEL ENLISTED SOLDIERS HAVE MILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLIONS OF DOLLARS INTO THEM FOR TRAINING. THESE MEN ARE NOT GOING TO RESIGN (LIKE YOURSELF) AND HOW MUCH EXTRA IS IT GOING TO COST TO KEEP RECRUITING WET BEHIND THE EAR KIDS THAT WILL ONLY STAY LONG ENOUGH TO PAY FOR SCHOOL? IT IS GOING TO COST MORE IN THE MONEY LOST IN GOOD SOLDIERS AND MARINES LIKE YOURSELF. RIDICULOUS. THIS IS TRULY A SAD DAY FOR AMERICANS TO THINK THAT MILITARY RETIREMENT WOULD BE ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK.

  14. I understand that the government has to find a new way. They have screwed up so much and as usual we as service members are going to have to pay for their mistakes. Instead of an overhaul, they should start fresh. If they want to change things, then change it with the first contract. I think anyone serving the day the legislation is passed should be grandfathered in and allow the would be candidates to choose if enlistment or what have you still means the same to them without the benefits of retirement or health care. I can assure anyone at capital hill that the new arrangement for those is going to loose them a lot of good soldiers that are currently in and turn away alot of would be soldiers in the future. I for one would get out immediately after my current 16 years if this legislation passed.

  15. A soldier must spend 20 years or be wounded and unable to perform his or her duties defending this country and any other country the congress deems necessary in order to get his or her benifits. A congresman or woman only has to spend 1 term and they recieve full retirement benifits..WHERE IS THE LOGIC..

    • Your are so right! We have to insist to our congressmen/women that we will not tolerate the upside-down logic of buying votes and destroying the incentive to work by creating a welfare state. I am really sick of congress and their hypocrisy….they need to be one term and not have full benefits-that's ridiculous!

  16. Retiree Spouse says:

    The benefits promised (healthcare & pension for life) were the incentives used to get pople to re-enlist in the past. It is not fair to change the game now for them, especially those over 65. If they want to reduce these benefits, it should apply only to those who are not now retired or near retirement. That way current military members can decide if they want to re-enlist based on these new benefit guidelines (or lack thereof). Do you think the politicians are willing to give up their benefits which are considerably better than the military's. I highly doubt it. Also, they are not the ones moving all over the world or risking their lives for their fellow Americans. It is time for all Americans to speak out against this atrocity.

  17. I am 83 retired USAF and have been voteing all my grown life.If you can`t make the very rich oay than you don`t need my vote I will quite voteing for anyone. TOM

  18. Check on what illegal aliens are costing us. Stop that and the budget balance problem would be solved. It is time our Senators and Congressmen wake up and smell the coffee.

  19. Retired Soldier says:

    Mutiny is a bad word. Do not use it. All military retiree and active members need to promote some unity and cohesion and vote out all politicians who make decisions to cut well earned benefits!!! That is the bottom line up front. Why doesn't any of these cuts affect the RICH? Why are ATHLETES paid millions of dollars and we have people in the United States who do not know where there next meal is coming from? Why are ACTORS AND ACTRESSES paid millions of dollars?. We definatedly do not need SPORTS or MOVIES to live. Why is Medicaid, Medicare, Military Benefits and Unemployment options. These programs are the lifeline of many Americans. The programs do not need to be cut. (The criteria for obtaining the benefits need to be changed.) There needs to be some sort program like Welfare to Work implemented to keep able bodied people from abusing the system. This is some food for thought.

  20. I retired in 2001 and have worked as a contractor since. These buzzards are circling and wanting to pick us clean. I seriously suggest we make note of this and vote appropiately in the next election. I can promise you I would not have stayed in past the first four years and don't know anyone else who would have. Those who suggest that the retirement they "earn" after one term of service needs to be reviewed and cut……..Like that's gonna happen.

  21. Disabled Vet says:

    I am a disabled vet and my husband is a disabled retired vet. My husband spent 23 years in the Army, was put on TDRL due to cancer (after 23 years) and we still have problems with health care, so yes Congress, please make it worse, WTH is wrong with them. They think they are so much better than everyone else, the first place they always look to cut is defense and that is all parts, then it's Seniors, um, hello, you need the military to protect your sorry asses from some Terrorist (yes I said terrorist) wanting to blow you up, and the Seniors, well they have done their time and I believe should be left alone. Also, I just read that they want to take military retired pay away and give them 401K, again I say, WTH, this BS. If they keep messing with the military they will have noone left to protect them. Every single person in the government needs to be replaced!!!!

  22. Hello I just was looking at your post "Disabled Vet" I'm about to go on TDRL also with cancer. Ive been fighting for 6 years on and off and they finally have had just about enough of me. I have a very very very rare type of cancer and I want to make sure i'm taken care of when I get out. Do you say you have problems with the TRICARE insurance? Just wondering I havent spoke with too many people that have gone on TDRL especially with cancer. I just want to make sure I can keep all my own docs and stuff. Hope all is well with you. Hope to talk soon.
    Take care

    • hello pete, as of now tricare does pretty good. it's a bit of a pain to find a good primary doctor. i use tricare prime. i won't go to the va due to the sorry care. one example i had both knees replaced a number of years ago and went the va and the doctor had the gall to say artificial knees don't hurt. thee tendons hurt like crazy for a long time, so ii gave up on the va. for my wife and i pay 460 a year for tricare prime and a 12 dollar co pay we are saving a good bit by using express scripts for our meds. it still irritates me at times because back in 75 when i went in medical care was supposed to be free for life. just be careful when shopping around for your primary care doc. tricare puts out good info if that helps

  23. THOMAS MOOREMAN says:

    VOTE REPUBLICAN, THEY WILL GIVE TAX CUTS TO THE CORPS, MIL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, BIG MEDICAL AND BIG PHARMA BUT NOTHING TO SPEAK OF FOR THE AVG PERSON. THE DEMS WILL THROW YOU A BONE AND THE REPUBS WILL TAKE EVERY CRUMB YOU EVER DREAMED OF LICKING OFF YOUR PLATE. REPLACE THE REPUKES !!! WHAT A DUMB ELECTORATE AT TIMES. GW CREATED ALL THESE PROBS AND NOW THE DUM DUMS ARE STARTING TO WAKE UP. DUH, LIKE ITS 8-10 YEARS TOO LATE. MANY VOTERS DONT PAY ATTN UNTIL IT IS TWO WKS BEFORE AN ELECTION AND YOU ONLY HAVE YOURSELVES TO BLAME FOR THE SHAPE OF THE CONGRESS.

  24. Is anybody surprised? TRICARE disappears in the next 5 years under the current plan. I am one of those retired and using TRICARE. I didn't know we would be singled out and slapped down for using a benefit that was offered to us. Again, we are picking on a certain few that doesn't fight back. Stop adding more on to TRICARE and fund what you have. I suggest taking TRICARE Prime and Military Retirement out of the defense department and put it into the Veterans Administration.

  25. CSM Retired says:

    The issue with all the comments regarding the Military, TRICARE and Retirement is the fact only 5% of Congress served in the military. Also, we are a bunch that normally votes Republican and we don't stand up like others so we are taken for granted. I suggest we take all the Military retirement and benefits (TRICARE) and put them under another agency like the VA.

  26. Im a Military Wife (and damn proud) and my husband is currently on his 7th (no not a typo) seventh deployment right now. We have been married over 5 years and have never spent a Christmas, Birthday, Thanksgiving, Anniversary, 4th of July, Halloween, or even f&^%&^%kin FLAG Day together. He is Special Forces so he deployes for 6-8 months then comes home 1, 2, 3, or maybe if we are lucky 4 months before he returns. We don't complain, we don't feel sorry for ourselves, and we don't blame anyone. We signed up for this and we are proud to do it. In the last five years we have endured the loss of MANY loved ones.

  27. )CONT) I have been through MANY death scares, and we have dealt with PTSD, severe nightmares, insomnia, and rage and anger on both our parts. We have overcome it all…and we keep overcoming it. Every time somebody rings my doorbell I freeze with fear that it is the military coming to tell me he has died. This is the life I lead as the wife of a Special Forces HERO. The thing we know, is that for the rest of our lives we will be taken care of after he finished up with his 20. He loves his job, we love this country, and we are proud to be a military couple. AND NOW, after ALL WE SACRIFICE, WE ARE THE ONES THE GOD DA** GOVERNMENT GOES AFTER? I BET WHILE THEY ARE SITTING IN THEIR LIVING ROOMS ENJOYING A PEACEFUL NIGHT AND MY GIRLFRIENDS AND I SIT IN FEAR FOR OUR LOVED ONES LIVES THEY THOUGHT THIS UP. ASHAMED TO BE IN THE SAME COUNTRY AS THESE PEOPLE, THEY DON'T DESERVE THEIR FREEDOM THAT SOLDIERS AFFORD THEM. THIS IS THE HOME OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE. HAS EVERYONE FORGOT THAT?

  28. I had no idea that taking the TRICARE benefit after retirement was a bad thing………………………….

  29. CSM Retired says:

    It is amazing that those making the decision to gut TRICARE never served or served only 2-3 years. Only 5% of Congress ever served and they have no idea what it takes to stay 20-30 years in our great military. I strongly suggest we take Military Retirement and TRICARE for retirees OUT of the defense budget and put it in the Veterans Administration or something like that. Whenever the defense budget is cut, the Military retirees and TRICARE are always the first to suffer.

  30. CSM Retired says:

    It's time for our VFW, DVA , TREA and others to take a hard stand on this. Let your Representative know that enough is enough. I suggest taking all Military retirement and TRICARE out of the defense budget.

  31. Vet for Life says:

    I agree with CSM Retired. It is time to take military retirement and TRICARE for retirees out of the defense budget and put it the VA or another appropriate agency. Every time the defense budget has to be cut, TRICARE and military retirement is the first on the chop block. Enough is enough. Notify your representative and tell them we have it!

  32. After serving 20 years this is how we are treated. Its time our government feels some of this discomfort, lets take some of there benifits, unless I'm mistaken they work for the American people we the people don't work for the government. It's time for change we all need too come together and work too make that happen. Not vote the same people back, And if we do shame on us.

  33. gates is a scumbag

  34. I am so sick of the partisan bickering and blame game. Leave retirees benefits and those about to retire alone. Benefits should be grandfathered in and any changes applied to those who see a benefit to serve our country. If Congress is smart they would target their own retirement and health care first if it is truely a balanced approach.

  35. I DON'T UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF THE PEOPLE IN WASHINGTON. WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL THE MILITARY AND THE SENIORS OF THIS NATION. EVERY TIME THERE IS A NEED FOR CUTTING IT IS ALWAYS PUT ON THE BACK OF WE THAT DON'T HAVE ALOT. WAKE UP! THIS COUNTRY NEEDS IT S MILITARY.

  36. To fix the retirement system, make it mandatory for everyone in government service to be on the same system. Bet we'd see some positive changes then.

    • Be careful what you ask for – you may get it. The current military retirement/health care is better than FERS/FEHBP, which is what the rest of the Federal Government (to include Congress) is under. Congressmen at 20 years can collect 34% of their last 3 years base pay at age 50. Not 50%, 34%. Oh, and they pay into the system, pay SS, and pay for their health insurance.

  37. Once again the Pentagon and the White house have chosen to balance it's budget on the backs of Retirees. What about the 9 million Military Contractors that have been ripping the system off for years. And What about the Generals that take a multi million dollar position in these Corporations after selling out the United States to these Contractors. No, it's the Tricare, and the Pensions. But if you did not have medical and a Pension, why would anyone stay in the Military under the UCMJ for 20-30 years. I just read that between 30-60 billion dollars has been stolen by Private Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nothing wrong with that as long as the right people are paid and Haliburton keeps making money. I am disgusted with this corrupt system of Government and this Croney Capitalism.

  38. Pepole in service have more to thing about them people in white house they staty away from there family a lot ,death alway faith them every were those go ,u people up there eat ,giving you al a fast paid raise ever time sleep every night good these man keep u all look good said these man do not go to war when u all said we need to ever time those some us there get money in there pocket thing about u all suck cut militarybeifeter.

  39. I do love the manner in which you have framed this issue plus it does give me personally some fodder for consideration. However, coming from just what I have personally seen, I simply trust when other feedback pile on that men and women stay on issue and not get started on a soap box of the news of the day. Still, thank you for this outstanding piece and while I can not agree with the idea in totality, I value your point of view.

  40. Tobebetter says:

    Politicians and the goverment should be ashame of themselves!! Cutting veterans benefits that they have outrightly earned and you want to take it away. If there need to be a cut, start with the politicans salaries, health care and pensions; outrightly they are the ones who have not earned anything, I have never known of a country politicans awarded for doing nothing but make messes and complain like a bunch of little boys and girls-Put on the grown-up pants for once and leave Vet benefits alone!!

  41. Interesting. The most prosperous Nation in the world with a GDP larger than China Japan and Germany combined wants to punish and nickel dime the very folks that defend our status in the world and allowed this country to become so powerful. How we treat our Veterans and retirees should be taken note by our young folks. If medical cost are bothering Mr. Hagel than quit. Maybe 12 years of war had something to do with it. Maybe the DoD motto joined by their contractors should be: Damn those WWII Vets. Damn those Korean Vets. Damn those Vietnam Vets. Damn those Gulf War Vets. Damn those Iraq Vets. Damn those Afgan Vets. It is amazing how fast a Soldier, Marine, Sailor, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen goes from hero to burden. Good Luck with your next war Mr. Hagel.