Are Veterans Benefits Under Attack?

This year, we have seen an assault against the protections and benefits promised to veterans. From health care cuts to retirement pay reductions, veterans and active military are in the cross hairs of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and others.

A little background. In March, the CBO published, “Reducing the Deficit.” This 250-page document contained a whole host of ideas that seem to really bad for everyone, including veterans. There were around 40 different solutions to fix our economy, or at least that’s what they’re selling it as.

The CBO’s planned agenda has raised cutting strategies that have been kicked around for some time. Here are the ones that are being kicked around in DC currently:

Separate from these, the Defense Business Board is now talking about removing the current Military Retirement System. Instead of the current system, active military could have to use the 401k system, if the Board gets its way. The claim is that the current system of war when it includes a fair retirement system costs too much. So while we still have wars, military lifers could lose their retirement if the companies in their 401k have an Enron moment. Again, veterans lose, Wall Street and Corporations win.

This 401k solution has been talked about for years within both political parties for the population as a whole – removing the Social Security safety net with a 401k Wall Street solution. I guess starting with Military Retirement first, to see how it goes, is the first step to making sure we’re all poor equally when the market tanks.

To me, it looks like the 401k recommendation is just another money grab. Even if it’s not, can we really trust Wall Street to gamble with Military Retirements? No way. Further, should veterans be required to bear the costs of war even after they serve because our government can’t figure out how to balance a checkbook? Hell no.

There is a Veterans Survey on DisabledVeterans.ORG geared right at this issue of budget cuts and your benefits. Take a second to make your voice heard. Tell Washington DC how you think they could balance the budget.


About the Author

Benjamin Krause
Benjamin Krause is a Veterans Benefits Attorney and journalist who investigates problems veterans face with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. He regularly reports on veterans' benefits news and analysis on the website
  • It is shameful!!!

  • davadvocate

    Haven’t you notice, everything is intertwined.


    Not ALL VETERAN benefits should be under fire, but consider those who are receiving benefits like TA for only serving 120 days on active duty during the WAR. They ARE NOT ACTIVE NOW and SHOULD NOT be receiving the same (FULL) benefits for Tuition Assistance as when they WERE ACTIVE or like those who are still active duty or RETIRED!!!! Enormous funds could be saved in this area. They SHOULD NOT be entitled to the SAME FULL TA BENEFITS. It is an insult to those on ACTIVE DUTY and/or RETIRED.

  • J. Shove

    I feel that prior to chopping away at the mil. retirement program, it would only be fair to see how all our congress, senate and all other fed employees retirement payand benefits could be adjusted similarly. Did I just type FAIR????

    • Frank

      Hoorah!!! Why do Senator’s or Congresspeople get retirement after only serving one term? Along with medical benefits….why does a Senator or Congressmen, who seeks higher office,,,get retirement from both positions? Why should VP Cheney get retirement benefits…or VP Dan Quayle? Why do they have unlimited medical benefits and get priority at Walter Reed while veterans have to wait???? You are right is this FAIR?

      • retiree

        Why? Becasue they DON”T. Senators and Congressmen are under FERS and FEHBP, same as the Civil Servants. No, they don’t have unlmitied medical & priority at Walter Reed/Bethesda after retirement.

    • Brenda

      I agree, it would only be FAIR, but that is something that will never happen. No, let’s just take away what we promised when these veterans signed up! But don’t touch their pay, pension or medical benefits. We all know that if they start with a “minimum” payment for Tricare For Life, it will end up costing as much as any supplemental policy & medications will end up costing what the average person pays for them. Is this what you were promised when you went in the service & WORKED for 20 years?

  • Vietvet1968

    What I do not understand is why other Federal employee’s like Senator’s, Congressmen aides, President’s and all other Federal employee’s do not have the pay and benefit’s cut. Is not the military servicemen and women Federal employee’s? Cut one and cut them ALL!! It seems that the Congress, President, and all other Federal employee’s other then the military ARE N OT THE SAME!!!!!

  • Paul Moore

    In 1942 I was promised Health care for life on retirement. THan that was gone. Than after 21 years & base pay of $380.00 a month as top grade than E 7 they changed the raises that were on the par of the military raises. Than they said they would tack .05% on the cola to make the difference. After couple years they deleted the .05 % on the cola. This after serving in WW2, Korea & Vietnam. I feel like a damn foot ball !!! Could anyone believe if they serve they will have a reasonable compensation ????? Gy Moore

  • gunny

    I would like to see Backman or any of those in Congress or the Senate live on what a disabled Veteran gets. They would know have enough to get through 1 month of their lifestyle. I think it is time to cut from the top and make them pay their fair share like we have done. I am 100% disabled and all military connected. I can no longer eat, I have to do tube feedings and have lost most of the use of my right arm. I can not work and still they say I make too much money.
    I am a Vietnam Veteran, in county and would gladly talk face to face with anyone that says Veterans benefits need to be cut to save money. I could come up with a lot more better ways to cut and save money. One is, a pay cut for all elected officials and they all pay S.S. with no cap. Then when they get to the age they have set they can draw their little retirement pay like all of us.
    Vote them all out and put in only those that stand with us. You should have to be a Veteran to be elected, in particular for President. No more career politicians, 2 terms, same as president and that is it. You are out and done.
    No paid anything. Goodby, and have a nice life. Get a job. gunny

  • bill Small

    May be we should consider the long term cost of war before we start another fire we cant put out.

    Bill Small

  • Roy Eakin
  • dcs201143

    It’s about time ALL military benefits are at least looked at in light of today’s economy and the taxpayers burden…. Military vets and retirees should not be exempt from possible changes…

    • Teri

      And what was the cause of today’s bad economy? Why do the taxpayers have this burden all of a sudden? When you can answer those questions (it takes time to learn about the way the financial system has failed), then you will see why vets and retirees should be exempt, especially from changes to ALREADY EARNED AND PAID FOR benefits and future detrimental changes that will lessen our ability to protect our nation from a weakened defense.

    • GUNNY

      WHEN I WENT IN 1949-1952,WHEN DID YOU GO IN?

    • Jon_Heckendorf

      dcs201143. You are a coward. I would hope you never served. If you have served, you are a stupid coward. If you never served, I hope by some chance you are put to the test by trial under fire. Even a drive by will do. Either way, may you contract a very slow and painful disease that will drive you to suicide. That is the best I will ever hope for you. Have a horrible quality of life until you die.

    • bob02vw

      I did 26 years enlisted service and am not complaining about my retirement benefits. I had to work a second career to retire comfortably but would have done it all over again. Some of the people I enlisted with did not get a retirement, though their loved ones got a month’s pay and a flag. Others have gotten medical discharges, painful injuries and a spartan life. Military Vets and retirees should not be made to pay for politicians greed and corruption that have put our beloved country in the financial mess that it is currently in. P.S. for all who read this and can afford it – send a few dollars to the charity of your choice that helps our current crop of injured vets.



  • thebigp15

    One day they are going meet and decide to declare war on some ountry and they are going to look around and realize that they have no one to fight because the people will say no I. When the DC bunch realize what they have done then they will go back out and promise people the world or start a draft all over again and then they are really going to have a problem

  • jsternik

    The Goverment has already defunded Funds for certian Widows for ADDC. They said they cannot aford it. To me it is like throwing the Widow under the Bus. Now they want to cut more and more and more.

  • Norry

    What’s good for the gander is good for the goose!. As a Vietnam Disabled Veteran I feel the Senate & Congress should take the cuts themselves, Lots of Luck there huh? We as Veterans have done our share for our country with pride & without complaint. Time for the rest of these yo-yos on Capitol Hill to toe the line!

  • H_Preston

    Benjamin Krause nailed it! “is the first step to mak­ing sure we’re all poor equally when the mar­ket tanks.”

    1. the military is a tool for corporate business
    a. Haliburton, Blackwater all private contractors that helped harm our men by making them sick with water, poor wiring so they got electrocuted, killing unarmed civilians, the list goes on just look at the news articles. This is what the PRIVATE sector brings to the military.

    b. Weapons sales is number on export product, (civilian) food services, again the list goes on.

    Who profits form these profit by any means? Wall Street investors, Federal Reserve indirectly through the manipulations of private banks that support the Federal Reserve and issue loans (there is no reserve and it’s not Federal – it is a Central bank that operates just like regular banks).

    The best way to honor our dead service men (not just on memorial day, but every day) is to take care of the living service men/women.

  • JOCS B, USN (Ret.)

    Let me get this straight. We can pour billions into failed green programs, give 500 million to the Palestinian (Terrorist) Authority, and millions to build a “so-called” green car in Finland. To do this we cut the benefits of those who have served without question. I EARNED my benefits through 21.5 years of service and two wars, but I am soaking the government??? Only in DC does this make sense. By the way, McCain has turned his back on his fellow Vets.

  • goverment jobs only for those who servrd in military honorably from president to janitor16 year old WWII VETERAN USMM & USMC SEMPER FI

  • davadvocate


    ANSWER: We are being overrun and we can no longer hold our position. We need air support, ammunitions, and supplies. Let’s deploy our best countermeasures. Senior folks, it’s time. Politics as usual. This is your game. I say put your skills to good use. Thanks.

  • Gotta say, if you read more & more of this stuff it seems EVERYONE knows the real deal about Wall Street. Maybe those Occupy Wall Street demonstrators know what they’re talking about? Just a thought.

  • vperl

    If any real change in retirement benefits is looked at, guess where they need to look first?

    That is right, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Talk about a sweet heart deal, look at these crooks benefits for a few years service, living off taxpayer benefits. These Princess and Princes live in a fairly tale land of wine and roses. Never saw them in my fighting hole wondering if they’d be alive the next day.

    No retirement for the cherry pickers and if they serve 20 plus years they get half pay and not health care. These guys make millions after they serve a few years and become lobbyists, or worse.

    Clean out these guys and the Federal retirement system also….

    Few of these Federal workers are just hanging on the get the gravy train benefits a Federal worker gets…. for more information look at the PERS systems in most states for more outrageous retirement payouts…. Or just look at the Teachers UNION… and they have NOT to prove they actually taught one one anything, just outlast the system till retirement..

    • retiree

      Wow, you want to raise the congressional retirement system? Right now, after 20 years, they get 34% at age 50. You want to raise it to 50%.

      Oh, and Federal employees are under FERS. They accrue 1%/year – so after 20 years, they have a retirement benefit of 20%. If they are Law Enforcement, they get 1.7%/year – so 34% after 20 years.

      Regarding states – if you have a problem with that (and it is a reason some states/communities are going broke), you need to talk to the state. The US Government has NOTHING to do with state workers benefits.

      BTW – I assume you are not a teacher, since you feel free to criticize them without proof, and wrong to boot. However, again, the US Government (who controls our retirement) has no say in teacher retirement systems.

      People, learn to think The budget is shot and needs to be fixed. Telling Congress to balance the budget by fixing things THAT THEY HAVE NO CONTROL OVER AND ARE NOT IN THE BUDGET makes you look like an idiot. Which means they will feel totally free to ignore your opinion.

  • vperl

    Looks like you have a “dog” in the fight.

    State, federal, or what ever, including your teachers are living off taxpayer monies…. All these “giveaways “. Are failing, going broke.

    Who cares? Looks like the cash cow is going to die. These retirement giiveways are double what other harder working people receive, including
    Our MILITARY that (join the military see how it cramps your style) protects the slacker, and the know
    it all class of losers. They feel so entitled, to my money.

    Cut the feds,state, teachers, fund a Military that provides you the right to free speech.

    Stop the waste, can a few of these non productive losers or become one.

    Stop spending monies we do not have.

  • J.S. Rice

    When the military becomes a business, it is no longer about our country its about profits. So it becomes more like a mercenary army that will be for hire in one form or another. Eventually it would turn on the people. Would you die for a 401K or a bond? I think not.

  • Don

    This is how our Government continues to break their promise to retiree’s and puts new spin on our oath defend against foreign and “domestic”.

  • Carrcian

    Oh to check where i got my numbers for an E1:

  • Carrcian

    I would prefer everything the military gets is transparent to public scrutiny. So many hidden benefits compared to the rest of society that anyone that works next to the military can see how spoiled they are. For example, an E1 with 1 year (single) with BAH BAS and base pay and 10% marginal tax rate monthly wage 2,876.43 and annual 34,517.20 is a good wage for an 19 year old. Now what the news often quotes is their base pay of $17,611.20 which excludes the difference between $34.5K – $17.6K which is tax free and usually completely hidden from view which covers rent, utilities, and food. The comparison to civilian wage is a GS6, I know of zero 19 year old civilian employees that can walk into a GS6 equivalent position with 8 weeks of tech school. I believe TriCare for the military member should be free but the rest of the family should paying for their medical treatment just like the rest of society. The military used to retire and were required to work in the private sector for three years now that has been completely eliminated. The AF brags that they get disability ratings for 96% of their retiring employees. Most of these folks are administrative desk jockeys. My wife had to fight tooth and nail to get disabled Vietnam vets with blown of legs and arms enough benefits to live on and when she sees AF retirees getting 50% disability for a genetic defect, she about goes thru the roof. Let’s get all those benefits out in the open so the public can see how poverty stricken you really are.

    • TheWebster

      There are 4 other branches. And they don’t have it near as easy as the AF. Ask a Marine E1 how spoiled he is.

    • retired military

      And how many 19 yr old in the civilian world are putting their life on the line. I think that it worth more than what they get.

  • Ray

    To those who pay taxes for teaching instruction—–Your childrens minds are worth the investment.
    To those who wish to cut a service members benefits—-What is a life worth? Thank you

  • anonymous

    simple take money out of politics and go back to the good ole days of being a leader because you want to change the country for your better man, and not for the money

  • pissedvet

    What about the “Fair Share” politics Obama likes to play. This is just another way to force military retirees and their families into “Obama care”. We earned the right to our benefits. Our Campaigner in Chief has never had to work for anything, he was handed everything in lie, from his education to his failed term as President.

  • rick burtchett

    i am 100 percent disabled veteran that has recently lost my left leg due service connected condition. i am confined to a eight by eight foot room every day. i battle the side effects of bladder cancer every day. for example i have to lie in urine cause my ostomy broke while my wife is at work. i ask in December 2011 for aid and attendance so i can have someone to help me deal with everyday challenges. i also requested for a wheel chair ramp and a shower so i can get cleaned. i spent 38 days at home without a shower until my friends built me one not the VA. MY ISSUE IS THAT I AM TOLD THAT IT WILL BE AT LEAST 12 months before my request will be acted on. i understand there are alot of veterans requesting assisstance but i really need help now. thanks for listening to me, it helps a little. ,

  • kalin

    My Husband served 21+ years,Korean conflict & Vietnam . died of Agent orange .They refused to give him 100% disability untill after he died of the Service connected disabilities ,for the last 4 years i watched my wonderful husband go from 180 lb to 97 lb , i picked him up and carried him because he could no longer walk ,and he cried because they (VA)would not give us any help. He never got to see the disability money they owed him. Now i get VA widow check of 1,197 a month=14,364 a year with a 3,000 deductible which i more than meet each year because i am in bad health now, that =11,364 and they want me to pay 600 for fee( Tricare)= 10.764 a year And that makes me rich ? I would like to see Congress & President Obama live on that ! It Isn’t right that the Veterans & their Widows “Who gave their life’s blood for this country and did every crap butt thing the Gov. wanted without question (YES SIR ),to be told they don’t deserve their health care and little bit of disability money ,and are free loaders ! And it isn’t like we are going to be around much longer , most of us from this era of wars will have passed within the next 10 to 15 years !

  • cpo

    as a older vet. I start out a 55.00 every two weeks great pay . The new personal don’t have a chance against the anti-war nuts,who are now serving as staffer in congress. The only time we are needed is when the power base is in jeopardy .My question is who is the person who first brought it up. just a name?

  • R.Dean

    I too am a retried Vietnam Vet. How many times does one need to be slapped in the face before they realize politicians dont care about promises or your welfare. Its all about them getting reelected. Look who has been appointed as Sec of State, and Defense Sec. Neither have the ability to support the military. They are the first ones to champion the cuts. What do you expect from our current administration. How can any heartless human stare into the eyes of a vet who has lost limbs, suffered a brain injury or that is truly totally disabled and tell this young or old man. I’m sorry but your life is meaningless and its more important to funnel aid to those who hate us. If these loons dont realize the effect of their decisions, I beg each and every American to say enough is enough . Vote the LOSERS out NOW.