Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News March 2014

Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) is disappointed in the bipartisan budget deal Congress agreed to that forces military service members and their families to shoulder the burden for deficit reduction.

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The bill signed by President Barack Obama late last December cuts annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for working-age military retirees under the age of 62 by 1% less than inflation.

The Congressional Budget Office concluded that the COLA rate decrease would also apply to retirement benefits for service members who are medically retired from military service under Chapter 61 of Title 10.

“Paralyzed Veterans of America is disappointed that Congress is once again putting the burden for deficit reduction on the backs of service members, veterans and their families,” says Carl Blake, national legislative director for PVA.

Service members can be eligible for early Chapter 61 retirement if it’s determined that, because of physical disability, they are deemed by a Department of Defense medical evaluation board to no longer be fit for duty. A service member must hold a disability rating of 30 percent or more in order to be eligible for Chapter 61 retirement.

Meanwhile, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) has introduced two pieces of legislation, including one that would eliminate the COLA reduction for all retirees. The other bill would eliminate it only for veterans who are medically retired, receiving combat-related special compensation and/or concurrent retirement and disability payments.

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