WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) recently sponsored legislation – the Keeping Our Promise to Our Military Heroes Act (S. 1869) – to protect military retirees from unfair reductions in their retirement benefits. Introduced last month by U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and sponsored by 19 of their U.S. Senate Colleagues, S. 1869 reverses the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) reduction for military retirees that was unfairly included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (which Sen. Moran opposed).
“Although the Omnibus corrected some of the reductions irresponsibly included in the budget agreement, the measure does not protect all veterans and their families from cuts to their COLA benefits,” Sen. Moran said. “The Keeping Our Promise to Our Military Heroes Act would completely restore COLA benefits promised to military retirees. We must keep our promise to our retired service members who deserve these benefits.”
The legislation provides an offset to restore military retiree benefits by making a simple fix to the U.S. tax code. It would require filers to have Social Security Numbers to qualify for the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). In 2011, the Treasury Department’s Inspector General reported that individuals who were not authorized to work in the United States and did not provide a Social Security Number received billions by claiming the ACTC.
A provision in the budget deal requires a one percent annual reduction in COLA for military retirees. Under the legislation, a Sergeant First Class in the Army who qualifies for retirement at twenty years of service at age 40, and who has most likely deployed multiple times to war, could lose approximately $72,000 between retirement and turning age 62.