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Balancing fed budget by hurting veterans

Donald Maranell LT, SC, USN (RET) Stonington

Publication: The Day

Published 12/18/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 12/17/2013 04:33 PM

The recently passed budget deal in Washington is very revealing on how our elected leaders really feel about veterans.

1. The VA is underfunded. Due to advances in medical care, many more service members survive and need treatment. These costs are accused of crippling our nation by adding to our deficit. It seems to be easy to send troops into battle, but the commitment to care for them after they served is lacking.

2. Any retired veteran with a disability of less than 50 percent gets any money received from the VA deducted from their retirement check effectively paying their own "workman's compensation."

3. The budget deal limits annual increases to military retirees to 1 percent less than COLA until age 62. This "Diet COLA" adjustment is justified by supporters by stating that younger veterans have other jobs.

Military benefits are called "out of control" and jeopardizing the ability to maintain programs and equipment. Our Armed Forces serve with pride and honor only to "retire" to broken promises and the task of starting a new career later in life after their highest earning years have passed. Veterans deserve to be treated fairly and have promises kept. The benefits are not "entitlements" but a commitment to those who are willing to serve. Congress should be ashamed.

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