Thousands of local military retirees will see pension cuts
BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) -
There are 16,000 military retirees in the Bossier City area and 8,000 of those will be getting less money from the government, thanks to a budget deal that trims military pensions, taking away money they were promised when they signed up to serve.
"I don't think it is fair, I don't think its fair," says Col. Steve dePyssler, USAF Ret. Every year, military retirees get pensions with an increasing cost of living adjustment, or COLA. This deal will cut that COLA by 1% until they are 62 years old.
"Bottom line is of course, a contract when you enter the service says that you would be able to retire at 20 years with a percent of your retired pay. That has been completely changed now. If you were a business, I could sue you because you broke a contract" dePyssler says.
The average cuts for a retiring Army Sergeant First Class would be close to $3,700 a year, according to the Military Officers Association of America. That means in 20 years, total losses could skyrocket to more than $80,000.
"I think every congressman that voted to take away the cost of living for the retiree ought to be kicked out of Washington," says Air Force retiree Carl Southerland. Hugh Mosley, who also retired from BAFB says, "I think that those who passed those bills should be underneath that retirement system."
"What are you going to do about it? What can you do about it? You can't do a darn thing, you can write your congressmen, bottom line is, it's a done deal," dePyssler says.
When this pay is reduced, it also affects the spouses of those military retirees. "If I were to die, this would affect my wife because the spouses get a percent of the retired pay," explains dePyssler. "They get 55% of the retired pay. If the pay has been reduced, then it affects your widow."
The pension cuts are scheduled to kick in December 2015. Military groups hope that time can be used to convince congress to reverse the cuts.