Budget Deal that Penalizes Military Retirees Heads to Senate

retirementUpdate: February 15, 2014

Military Times: Vets Upset COLA Reduction Remains for New Troops

Veterans welcomed the repeal of the reduction of the cost-of-living-adjustment for retirees starting in 2016, but veterans’ advocate groups are disappointed the reduction will still apply to new troops.

The bill now awaiting President Obama’s signature grandfathers current retirees and troops as of Dec. 31, 2013, from COLA cuts that were created as a deficit reduction measure. However, troops entering service after that date will see smaller COLAs when they begin retiring in 2034.

Original Article:

By a vote of 332-94, the House passed a two-year budget deal Thursday, December 12th. The deal funds the government and temporarily ends the sequester, but comes at a huge financial cost to working-age military retirees under the age of 62.

If the same deal is also approved by the Senate Monday, December 16th and signed into law by the president, the provision will automatically subtract a full percentage point from annual COLA increases.


For an E-7 retiring today at age 40, the cumulative loss of retirement income could exceed $80,000 by age 62.

“We know the federal government needs to curb its spending, balance its budget, and put an end to the sequester, but penalizing military retirees is not the solution,” said VFW National Commander Bill Thien.

“The troops view the attacks on pay and allowances, retirement and healthcare systems as a breach of faith, and a complete lack of support, understanding and appreciation for what it is they do daily for the rest of America.”

Smile Veterans…VA Extends Optional Dental Coverage

Health Benefits    VA Dental Insurance Program  VADIP




VA has partnered with Delta Dental and MetLife to allow eligible Veterans, plus family members receiving care under the Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA), to purchase affordable dental insurance.  Applications are now being accepted, and coverage for this new dental insurance will begin Jan. 1, 2014.

Coverage will be available to veterans and eligible family members throughout the United States and its territories.

More than 8 million Veterans who are currently enrolled in VA health care can now choose to purchase one of the offered dental plans. This three-year pilot program is designed for Veterans with no dental coverage, or those eligible for VA dental care who would like to purchase additional coverage.

Participation will not affect entitlement to VA dental services and treatment. Historically VA’s free dental services have gone to Veterans with dental problems connected to a medical condition that’s officially certified as “service connected.”  Free dental services will continue for those Veterans.

Also eligible for the new benefits are nearly 400,000 spouses and dependent children who are reimbursed for most medical expenses under VA’s CHAMPVA program.  Generally, CHAMPVA participants are spouses, survivors or dependent children of Veterans officially rated as “permanently and totally” disabled by a service-connected condition.

There are no eligibility limitations based on service-connected disability rating or enrollment priority assignment.

Dental services under the new program vary by plan and include diagnostic, preventive, surgical, emergency and endodontic/restorative treatment. Enrollment in the VA Dental Insurance Plan (VADIP) is voluntary.  Participants are responsible for all premiums, which range from $8.65 to $52.90 per month for individual plans.  Copayments and other charges may apply.

People interested in participating may complete an application online through either


Veterans Rally at Their Memorials in the Million Vet March Across the United States

#1MVetMarch video


Thomas Jefferson once said, “When governments fear the people, there is liberty.  When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

Sunday morning, veterans across the United States made a loud and resounding statement that should be heard in the ears of all current and future U.S. government leaders. DON’T TREAD ON ME! 

Organized and promoted by (among others) VetMarch.com, veterans memorials across the country received a 9 a.m. EST visit from their brothers and sisters in arms…their comrades.

One invitation encouraging all veterans to participate in the rally read:


“I want you to circle the date of Sunday, October 13, 2013.

And then I want you to help “circle the wagons” on that day to help protect and defend our brave veterans who risked their lives for our freedom – and now are being barred from visiting the memorials erected to honor their deeds.

In a mean-spirited fit of selfish anger, Barack Obama has shut down our nation’s war memorials. And he has declared open war on our honored veterans!

The World War II memorial … the Vietnam Veterans Memorial … the Korean War Veterans Memorial – 

By Order of the American Public

Obama has shut them all down to force his will on the House of Representatives and frankly, to get revenge on the American people who oppose Obamacare and his other naked power grabs.

Let’s put it plainly: Barack Obama is behaving like a vicious tyrant. And if he succeeds in this assault on the democratic system, the Republic we love is at mortal risk. It’s just that simple. That’s why I am asking you now to take two decisive moves to show Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi – and all of their oppressive ilk in Washington – that “We the People” are still in charge. And we won’t rest until we take back our memorials and monuments! –”  Read: 25 Things Obama Shut Down….

Why were veterans marching?

“The purpose of the Million Vet March on the Memorials is to make a statement to our country’s leadership that it is unacceptable to close war memorials to the veterans whose blood, sweat and tears paid the price of freedom around the globe.”

Where were veterans marching? 

“Below is a list of (over 50) rallying points at our memorials. Honor their sacrifice even if you can’t make it to DC! We are asking you to never assemble at a national or war cemetery. Our brothers in arms deserve that respect!”

Related Articles:

Don't Tread on ME

VFW National Commander Takes Action Against Government Shutdown

National VFW Commander Bill Thien sent word out to all of the VFW, VFW Ladies Auxiliary Membership and VFW supporters regarding his affirmative action to help end the Government Shutdown.  A shutdown that has been the talk of America for the past 4 days and has negatively affected the U.S. military and national security.

Read National Commander Thein’s e-mail to membership and letter to the President:

VFW Washington

October 3rd, 2013

My Fellow Comrades,

The VFW understands that veterans are already facing significant hardship as a result of gridlock on Capitol Hill, and in the event of a prolonged government shutdown, we know the pain will only get worse.

That is why this afternoon I sent a letter to President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the entire Congress outlining the VFW’s position on the current government shutdown, explaining its negative impact on the veterans’ community, and insisting that leaders work to resolve the current budget impasse that has already shuttered certain VA services and threatens to cut off even more benefits in the long term.

Rest assured that your VFW will continue to fight on Capitol Hill for timely and sufficient funding for all veterans’ benefit programs, and your VFW Washington Office staff will continue to pressure Congress and the Administration to fulfill their duty to serve our veterans.

Please take a moment to read the attached letter, and I encourage you to reach out to your elected leaders on this critical issue through the VFW Action Corps.

Yours in comradeship,

William A. Thien
VFW Commander-in-Chief
Freedom isn't free