Budget Deals Cuts Benefits For Military Retirees

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Nicola Luciani served in the U.S. Air Force for more than 20 years, including during the Vietnam war.

Now retired, the Watertown veteran says he has earned his pension.

He relies on it every day.

"All of us did our duty for our country and also looking to the future for retirement," said Luciani.

But on Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed a budget deal that includes $6 billion in cuts to veterans benefits over ten years.

Although Luciani won't be affected by the cuts, he's outraged for those who will.

"After they served and realized they can get a retirement if they stay long enough and now the government is trying to change that in the middle of their career, it's absolutely insane," he said.

Military retirees stand to lose 1 percent of their cost of living raises.

When added up over 20 years, that could result in a 20 percent reduction in their pensions.

That means the average retiree younger than 62 would lose $3,700 a year.

"This was one of those pieces of the bill that was problematic, but 332 members of Congress voted for it and now people are taking a second look," said Congressman Bill Owens (D. - 21st District).

The budget deal now heads to President Obama's desk.

If he signs off, the cuts will go into effect in two years.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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