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Military pension cuts passed by Congress

Many military retirees would see a cut to their pensions under a new budget approved by the House of Representatives. It includes a one percent cut in annual cost-of-living increases for most retirees under 62 years-old.
   
The budget is expected to pass the Senate this week despite opposition from a number of veterans groups.

If approved by the Senate and the president, the cut to military pensions would not take effect for about two years. But right now it has a lot of retirees very concerned.

The Military Officers Association of America estimates a typical enlisted member who retires after 20 years of service would lose about $83,000 during his lifetime because of the cut. The group says a typical officer retiring after two decades would lose about $124,000.

Retirees we spoke with were divided on the issue.

"I don't think it's a big deal, really," said Will Lynch, a Navy veteran, "We've had reductions since I retired and we went a year or two with no cost-of-living at all."

Meanwhile, Paul Hermance, another retiree, said, "We were promised when we went in and now it's just the government nibbling away at veterans."

"I'm a little mixed about it," said Bobby Gould, who retired from the Marine Corps, "I can understand why they want to."
   
The cut to the cost-of-living adjustment generated $7 billion in savings in the budget deal, which is expected to pass the Senate this week. Since the House adjourned Friday for the rest of the year, the bill can't be amended, so analysts say the change is all but certain to become law.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin says the issue will be reviewed when the panel reconvenes next month.