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WTVC NewsChannel 9 :: News - Price of Freedom - Price of Freedom: Benefits Cut for Veterans

Price of Freedom: Benefits Cut for Veterans

Vietnam Veteran Larry Hester spends his time helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.  He says his phone was ringing a lot lately.

"I've had five different people call me from three different counties wanting to know if they’re about to take a bunch of our retirement away from us," Hester told us.

The budget deal cuts military retiree benefits by approximately 6 billion dollars over 10 years.  It cuts one percentage point from any cost of living increase for retirees who are under 62 years old before December of 2015.

"So if it's 3 percent this year for anyone over 62 they'll get a two percent pay raise on their retired pay,” Navy veteran Doug Goodwin said.  “Over 20 years that one percent adds up for normal enlisted retired to probably about 50 thousand dollars."

The cut will add up to much more than that for military officers.

"I have a son in law and 2 sons in the military,” Goodwin told us.  “They're not looking at careers based on what are they’re going to get out of it."

Bill Swiderski served in the Army and Navy.  He served for more than 23 years.  He just retired this month, and learned of the reduction in his benefits eight days after his retirement.    

"It's a raw deal,” Swiderski told us.  “I don’t ask for anything.  When people thank me for my service I thank them for the support, but I'm a little bit embarrassed by it.  It's my job I chose it.”  

by Josh Roe

Price of Freedom: Benefits Cut for Veterans

Thursday, December 19 2013, 09:09 AM EST

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