Congressional Report Aims to Cut Deficit, But Would Cost Retirees Thousands

Congressional Report Aims to Cut Deficit, But Would Cost Retirees Thousands
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A biennial report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) offering options to cut the deficit includes several proposals which could weaken or eliminate earned benefits for nearly all members of the uniformed services and veteran communities.


The CBO provides a 10-year overview of deficit-reduction measures once every two years, before the start of a new congressional session. As with past years, the report includes ways to reduce both mandatory and discretionary funding, as well as ways to increase federal revenue ... but it does not consider any long-term implications of these potential savings, nor the impact cuts would have on affected communities or on significant challenges facing the nation, such as military recruitment and retention.


These proposals, if enacted, could cost servicemembers past and present – and their families, survivors, and caregivers – thousands of dollars every year. Retirees and survivors would face TRICARE For Life enrollment fees and increased medical costs, and receive smaller cost-of-living increases for their retirement pay and survivor benefits. Veterans would see significant reductions in available VA care and reduced benefit payments. Servicemembers and their families would suffer from a cap on pay raises and cuts to a critical housing benefit.




MOAA has identified 13 options from the CBO report which could inflict such harm; we will continue to fight for our constituents to ensure proposals like these are not enacted, or even considered.


Mandatory Spending

  • Introduce Enrollment Fees for TRICARE For Life
  • Introduce Minimum Out-of-Pocket Requirements in TRICARE For Life
  • Means-Test VA Disability Compensation for Veterans with Higher Income
  • End VA’s Individual Unemployability Payments to Disabled Veterans at the Full Retirement Age for Social Security
  • Reduce VA’s Disability Benefits for Veterans Who Are Older Than the Full Retirement Age for Social Security
  • Narrow Eligibility for VA’s Disability Compensation by Excluding Veterans With Low Disability Ratings
  • Use an Alternative Measure of Inflation to Index Social Security and Other Mandatory Programs


Discretionary Spending

  • Cap Increases in Basic Pay for Military Service Members
  • Replace Some Military Personnel With Civilian Employees
  • Reduce the Basic Allowance for Military Housing to 80 Percent of Average Housing Costs
  • Increase Prescription Drug Copayments for All Veterans
  • End Enrollment in VA Medical Care for Veterans in Priority Groups 7 and 8



  • Include VA’s Disability Payments in Taxable Income


How You Can Help

We need to let Congress know where beneficiaries stand on these issues. Watch The MOAA Newsletter and MOAA’s Advocacy News page for ongoing updates throughout the year, beginning next month with an opportunity to tell Congress what you think about the CBO’s ideas to increase out-of-pocket costs for Tricare For Life beneficiaries, especially in the face of recent cuts to the TRICARE retail pharmacy network.


Learn how you can make a difference on all of MOAA’s advocacy issues by visiting our Legislative Action Center.


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About the Author

Allison Reilly
Allison Reilly

Reilly, an Associate Director for Government Relations, is a native of Columbia, S.C. She earned her bachelor’s degree in intelligence and national security studies from Coastal Carolina University. She joined MOAA in 2019.