Congress Restores COLA - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Congress Restores COLA

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Military retirees will be getting a cost of living adjustment to their pay once they retire from service.

When a military member retires from service they count on the fact that they will be able to collect the retirement they earned while serving the country. But back in December, lawmakers included a provision in the budget bill that lowered the cost of living adjustment by 1 percent each year until veterans reach the age of 62.

"That was something I tried to get changed in the budget, tried to get an amendment, but wasn't able to. But this last week we were able to pass a separate bill that fixes it and fully re-instates that cost of living adjustment, the COLA for our military retired," says Senator Hoeven.

Mark Landis with the Burleigh County Veterans Service Office says he was surprised that it was even cut in the first place.

"I understand that there is a budget crunch. The Department of Defense is not immune to that. They're looking for ways to reduce the budget. However, I didn't expect them to look at the cost of living adjustment for retirees," says Landis. 

The cut would have cost a retiree between $80,000 and $100,000 throughout their retirement depending on their rank. It cost congress $6.8 billion to reinstate it.

"I sponsored legislation to make sure it was paid for so it's covered in the budget. But most importantly it's reinstated and guaranteed for our military," says Senator Hoeven.

Which Landis says is good news for those who have served our country.

"Military retirees have fulfilled their commitment to the country, and they expect their government to fulfil their commitment as well," says Landis.

The bill was signed by the President on Saturday.

The cost of living adjustment was NOT reinstated for people who have yet to join the military. Landis says he hopes that gets fixed but at least those individuals will know about the provision before they sign up for service.

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