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Congress’ Efforts to Save COLA May Miss the Mark

The recently passed national defense budget includes a requirement to cap the annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for all “working age” military retirees (under age 62) at one percent below the rate of inflation. Understandably, capping the COLA at a rate below inflation has caused an uproar in the veteran and retiree community. In his recent Military Update, columnist Tom Philpott, points out that in the Congressional rush to “fix” COLA, Congress focused their efforts (in the Continuing Resolution budget bill) on protecting the medically retired (Chapter 61) and survivor benefit recipients from the cap. According to Philpott's article, critics of the CR have pointed out that the fix also creates a disparity in COLA protection between separate groups of disabled retirees, because it does not help retirees with service-connected disabilities, whether determined prior to or following release from service – only those who are medically retired under Chapter 61 will see their full COLA. To clarify - retirees under 62 with service-connected disability ratings will see cost of living adjustments on their retirement pay capped despite the fact that their disability is related to their military service. Tom also points out that VA-rated disabled retirees will continue to receive full COLAs on their VA paid disability compensation. Read the full article, New Cola ‘Fix’ Creates Have, Have-Not Disabled Retirees, to get the whole story and learn what is being done to combat the COLA cap.

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