House Votes 124K Out Of My Spouse’s Military Retirement

Written by Robert


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Recommended Language for emails and Facebook (thanks for the help from MOAA):

Dear Senator {insert your Senator’s name}, 

We are a/an {insert service} family and your constituents.

I’m writing to ask you to reject a provision within the Bipartisan Budget Act that threatens to significantly slash retirement benefits for current and future military retirees.

The FY 2014 budget proposal includes a provision that cuts the annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for uniformed service retirees by 1 percent each year until age 62.

The cuts will have a devastating and long-lasting impact. By age 62 retirees who serve a 20 year career would lose nearly 20 percent of their retired pay.

I’m asking you to reject this provision that breaks faith with current and future military retirees, and threatens long term readiness and retention in the uniformed services. 

I’ve included three recent articles, all written by military spouses, to provide you a sense of the outrage and betrayal our community is feeling:




We need your help in ensuring this bill isn’t passed or the provision is taken out.  We’ve had your back for the last decade plus of war.  Especially this next week, we need you to watch ours.  A vote for this bill (as is) is a vote against military families. 

As a constituent, I am requesting you inform me of your position on this issue. 

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely, {Insert your name}  [Consider including a family picture]

Please go to the last page of this article for a list of all the Senators, their contact infomormation and Twitter handles.

Recommended Language for Twitter:

{insert Senator’s Twitter Handle} Keep faith with military families. Reject Ryan-Murray amend. that devastates mil retirement #KeepYourPromise.

Please go to the last page of this article for a list of all the Senators, their contact information and Twitter handles. 

Senators (Bolded means the Senator is up for reelection in 2014).  Let them know that your vote in 2014 depends on how they vote next week!




This is a $124,000 article.

Today, the House of Representatives voted to take $124,000 out of my husband’s future retirement pay.  I’m pretty sure that is the same amount it will cost us to send our two children to college.    Since my husband recently hit the 20-year mark, we’ve been actively planning for the next phase of our lives. I can assure you that we’ve accounted for every penny in retirement. This is a major blow to our future.

Oh, don’t think it’s just my husband.  Oh no, it’s your active duty spouse, too.  It also affects those who have recently retired and all retired veterans under the age of 62. That pretty much covers most of the people I know.  The House of Representatives voted today not to pay your family anywhere from $84,000 to $124,000 of retirement income that they promised you. 

The Bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2013 offered up retirement pay of those currently serving and all retirees under age requirement.  They are tinkering with cost of living allowance (COLA) that is built into your military members retirement pay. 

A COLA is offered to retirees as a measure to keep up with inflation.  Military retirees, like those living solely on Social Security, rely on a fixed income from their retirement. If the cost of living increases over twenty years, their fixed income stays the same.

For example, the average cost for gas in 1993 was $1.11 per gallon. Today, gas averages $3.74 per gallon.  If you’re on a fixed income, this increase over a period of time eats away at a retiree’s ability to be self-supported.  A retiree actually has less money in their pockets as time passes, when they need it the most.  A COLA is a common formula put into place to allow retirees to keep up with the rise of inflation.  It usually is a percentage matching the national inflation numbers.

Instead of the promised percentage rate for COLA, Congress wants to drop it by one percent.  When I say promised, I mean they promised this cost of living allowance to your service member when they joined.

One percent doesn’t sound apocalyptic at first glace, but look closely at the numbers.  According to Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), this cut affects all of service members and retiree’s today. 

“The cuts will have a devastating and long-lasting impact. By age 62, retirees who serve a 20-year career would lose nearly 20 percent of their retired pay. An E-7 retiring at age 40 today would experience a loss of $83,000 in purchasing power – an O-5 would lose $124,000.



Not So Due Process

Let’s set aside the amount for moment and let’s talk about due process.  I’m from Las Vegas, I can smell a back room deal several states away.  This was nothing more than a dirty deal that put my family and our future earnings on the chopping block without notice or discussion.  

They want us to “pay our fair share” in this budget crisis.  It’s funny how they use the word “fair” because to me, it would be fair to open this up to the public before they crafted a way to sneak a major pay cut into an amendment and bring to a vote! 

They are circumventing their own process.  Earlier this year Congress created a Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Committee to look closely at retirement pay reform.  Their goal is make the hard cuts without hurting those currently serving or retirees – as they were promised – aiming cuts toward those who enter the service in the future. 

Why didn’t they use their own process?

Why is it on the table now?

Why is the entire military community (and my family) being used as pawns in this game in Washington? 

I’m tired of my husband, your spouse, and our livelihood being used as political capital for those who have never served.  We are a bargaining chip, a negotiation tool.  It’s disheartening to watch your future earnings being taken from you on CSPAN without notification, discussion or even a hint that it was coming.

In my opinion, this is a slippery slope.  If they can cut military retirees pay without so much as a peep out of us, then I would think there could be more cuts in our future.   They created a process to study military pay – Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Committee, but I think we all know that was sham, now.   I’m extremely leery of what other circus tricks are on the horizon. 

How safe is our retirement?


Embrace The Suck

Military spouses have been using the term “Embrace The Suck” for years! 

We’ve embraced many hardships.  I’ve sacrificed plenty over the years. I know I personally gave up my career to support my husbands – without regret.  My occupation is not portable, so I’ll have to start over – someday, when I stop moving every two years. 

My youngest is five years old and she’s already lived in four states.  I’ve said goodbye to family, knowing we’ll never live in the same state again.  Because aren’t all grandparents meant for Skyping and not sleepovers?  My children are forced to change schools every two years, expected to make new friends and adapt to imbalances in education from state to state. 

My husband’s office is an intricate part of the national defense of our country.  So, that means T-ball games are missed, so are school plays, recitals, activities, help with home work, bed time routines and of course, family vacations.   Not to mention, let’s send you off to a war zone for an unknown amount of time, too.   My husband has spent 20 years in the United States military. It’s not your typical day job.

And, quite frankly, I think I have it pretty good. I know other military families out there have it a lot worse.  I’ve embraced my suck, we all do. 

So, when I hear the Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D), spout out in a news conference, we have to “embrace the suck”, I want to scream! 

How about trying out a new slogan “Embrace Your Promise.”  

As for Congressman Paul Ryan (R) who defended his plan and the cuts today by saying, “We think it is only fair that hardworking taxpayers, who pay for the benefits that our federal employees receive, be treated fairly as well,”

I think you have a loose definition of the meaning of fair.  Stop letting back door deals take center stage on CSPAN and have an open discussion about cutting military retirement pay.   How about a little notice next time?  Better yet, how about using the committee you created to study pay instead of using it as a store front for your real motives.   


Call To Action

As your remember from your civics class in high school (or not), although the Bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2013 passed the U.S. House of Representatives today, it still has to make it past the Senate and then for the Presidents signature.

There will be a vote next week, so we have time to rally.   Military spouses should have a dog in this fight.  Collectively, we are a force that can help shape policy, government and our future.   It’s time to move!

Social Media – share this article (and all to follow) on Facebook, Twitter and all other social media with your friends, family, spouse groups, work friends and neighbors.   On Twitter, use the #KeepYourPromise.

Call Your Representatives –  Visit the attached link to find out who represents your voice.  Pick up the phone and make the call! 


Be Informed – Follow groups like Military Spouse Magazine, MOAA and Military Spouse JD Network for the latest on the vote. 





Make them keep their promise!
































































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