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Old 04-04-2015, 03:48 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
7,629 posts, read 14,389,649 times
Reputation: 18712

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
Thanks. The part I bolded in red was what I really wanted to know.
Of course none of us can really predict the future based on PAST changes, but just as the VA is rewriting the VASARD (VA Schedule for Disability Rates, which is the BIBLE the VA uses to rate a vet on), it has indicated that even with the changes being expected to take effect in 2015, it would ONLY affect those applying for ratings AFTER the date the new VSARD is adopted. In other words, if you are receiving a rate for a disability, OR you had already submitted your claim and it was actually in the process of being adjudicated, they would still use the old ratings that were in effect at the time you applied.

Like you, I am a civil service retiree, hubby is a military retiree, and working civil service and he will retire from that in 3 yrs. We often discussed "putting all our eggs into one basket" and the risk of federal retirement changes, but we figured that IF the Fed Gov reneged on its "retirement debts owed" that everyone else probably would have by then anyway.

It is scary, we have friends that have worked HARD their entire lives, saved and planned and are now enjoying retirement from CA that are now watching the proposed teacher union threats to change everything from their health care to total bankruptcy and wonder how it might affect them. Being already retired, they are concerned of course.
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Old 04-04-2015, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Central Massachusetts
4,800 posts, read 4,855,118 times
Reputation: 6379
As a current member of the military and soon to be retired I can explain some things that didn't seem to come out in this article. Yes they do need to revamp the retirement system. I know it isn't supposed to affect current retirees and those that have already vested in it like me (soon to retire). I believe that doing changes will be the case. I do know however that they have already started that.

The year I deployed to Iraq 2003 they were just beginning to offer TSP for the military. They didn't match like they do for FERS but they are the same funds and the same costs for the deposits. I think it is a good idea as a person who is not democrat or republican I know the need for taking care of the military and also to be smarter with the people's money.

I really do believe that TSP or some sort of funds like that should be accessible for everyone. I would advocate transitioning over from the current systems to one where people and companies can offer that savings vehicle for everyone. Something that can be carried from one employer to another. Of course I also would not mandate matching funds though I would encourage matching and most of the good companies would match if they want to keep good people around.

Thanks LauraC for the thread that we can talk about this openly.
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Old 04-05-2015, 08:06 AM
 
336 posts, read 270,570 times
Reputation: 537
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
Anyone here getting a military pension? Would the proposed 20 percent cut be for new members of the military, current members of the military who haven't retired yet, or everybody including current military retirees receiving a pension?
As other posters have noted, this won't affect current retirees.

The "free ride" that military and Federal employees have had, with respect to pensions, is coming to an end. To reduce the cost the Federal Government pays for the FERS defined benefit, which pays 1% (1.7% for firefighters and law enforcement officers) per year of service _times_ the average of the employee's three highest salary years, starting at age 62, the last Congress implemented a mandatory 4.4% pre-tax salary deduction for all new Federal civil service employees. The current Congress is now proposing to raise this mandatory salary deduction to 6.4% for all new and *existing* Federal employees. This is on top of the standard 6.2% payroll deduction for Social Security.

The same sort of changes are undoubtedly coming to the military. The military currently offers an extremely generous pension benefit (2.5% per year of service vs. 1% for civil service vs. 1.7% for civil service firefighters and law enforcement) that is not paid for, and which adds $50 billion to the Federal deficit each year. (In contrast FERS is paid for up-front by Federal agencies, which are required to set aside 12.7% of a person's salary, 4.4% of which comes from the employee). Something has got to give; we cannot continue to give military pensions that are paid for almost entirely with Treasury bonds (debt) sold to China and others. The military's budget must account upfront for the full cost.

I think the most sensible solution is to replace the military retirement with FERS for all unvested military personnel. That would include the TSP match (up to 5% of salary) and a defined benefit of 1.7% (not 2.5%) per year of the veteran's high-3 average salary, starting at age 62. As with civil service, there should be a mandatory salary deduction to fund this defined benefit, and the military budget should reflect the remaining cost of the benefit. Every veteran with at least 5 years of service should receive the FERS pension/benefit starting at age 62, just like civil service employees. And the government should refund the pension/benefit contributions for any veteran that serves less than 5 years (who do not qualify for a pension without additional service), just as it does for civil service.

Last edited by VAGeek; 04-05-2015 at 08:43 AM..
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Old 04-05-2015, 11:27 AM
 
950 posts, read 715,854 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VAGeek View Post
As other posters have noted, this won't affect current retirees.

The "free ride" that military and Federal employees have had, with respect to pensions, is coming to an end. To reduce the cost the Federal Government pays for the FERS defined benefit, which pays 1% (1.7% for firefighters and law enforcement officers) per year of service _times_ the average of the employee's three highest salary years, starting at age 62, the last Congress implemented a mandatory 4.4% pre-tax salary deduction for all new Federal civil service employees. The current Congress is now proposing to raise this mandatory salary deduction to 6.4% for all new and *existing* Federal employees. This is on top of the standard 6.2% payroll deduction for Social Security.

The same sort of changes are undoubtedly coming to the military. The military currently offers an extremely generous pension benefit (2.5% per year of service vs. 1% for civil service vs. 1.7% for civil service firefighters and law enforcement) that is not paid for, and which adds $50 billion to the Federal deficit each year. (In contrast FERS is paid for up-front by Federal agencies, which are required to set aside 12.7% of a person's salary, 4.4% of which comes from the employee). Something has got to give; we cannot continue to give military pensions that are paid for almost entirely with Treasury bonds (debt) sold to China and others. The military's budget must account upfront for the full cost.

I think the most sensible solution is to replace the military retirement with FERS for all unvested military personnel. That would include the TSP match (up to 5% of salary) and a defined benefit of 1.7% (not 2.5%) per year of the veteran's high-3 average salary, starting at age 62. As with civil service, there should be a mandatory salary deduction to fund this defined benefit, and the military budget should reflect the remaining cost of the benefit. Every veteran with at least 5 years of service should receive the FERS pension/benefit starting at age 62, just like civil service employees. And the government should refund the pension/benefit contributions for any veteran that serves less than 5 years (who do not qualify for a pension without additional service), just as it does for civil service.

........"the military currently offers an extremely generous pension benefit "..

And they should !

If we want to treat the military retirement like a civilian retirement, let's make the jobs more similar.

Allow the military people the option to resign at any time with a two weeks notice.

Find a better job.............give 2 weeks notice to your commander, take your 401k with you and start your new job in 2 weeks.

Don't like your transfer orders?......same as above


No civilian /govt job requires you to sign a binding contract punishable by imprisonment if broken.
Such a contract would be deemed illegal by the courts except for the military.

As I stated, if some of you believe a military retirement benefit should be the same as a civilian , change the rules and make the active duty rules resemble the civilian work place.
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Old 04-05-2015, 11:46 AM
 
290 posts, read 298,376 times
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@VAGeek, you really think that the new deduction will effect existing Federal employees and not just be grandfathered in?

@VJDAY81445, military members probably also wouldn't get 100% medical coverage with no cost out of pocket and 30 days paid vacation from day one anymore.
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Old 04-05-2015, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Eastern Shore of Maryland
5,941 posts, read 2,707,740 times
Reputation: 5617
Quote:
Originally Posted by VJDAY81445 View Post

As I stated, if some of you believe a military retirement benefit should be the same as a civilian , change the rules and make the active duty rules resemble the civilian work place.

It should be no more than Civilians get. You know what your agreeing to right up front, and know what the commitment is, and what happens if you don't abide. You have the same choice as a Civilian. Don't take the job. Find another job if you don't like that one. No one forces you to take the job. Its a Job. You get paid.

Yes, it can be a risky Job, same as being a lineman for an Electric Company can be one, while you shutting breakers on a pole in a Storm so people can get power. The risks come with the job, and are understood before your hired.
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Old 04-05-2015, 12:11 PM
 
950 posts, read 715,854 times
Reputation: 1615
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boris347 View Post
It should be no more than Civilians get. You know what your agreeing to right up front, and know what the commitment is, and what happens if you don't abide. You have the same choice as a Civilian. Don't take the job. Find another job if you don't like that one. No one forces you to take the job. Its a Job. You get paid.

Yes, it can be a risky Job, same as being a lineman for an Electric Company can be one, while you shutting breakers on a pole in a Storm so people can get power. The risks come with the job, and are understood before your hired.

APPLES TO ORANGES

no court would uphold a civilian contract that was similar to a military contract.

Even if the civilian boss stated in court........."You know what you are agreeing to right up front"......"the risks come with the job, and are understood before you are hired"


Name me one civilian job where the boss could use that argument in court and win.
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Old 04-05-2015, 12:13 PM
 
950 posts, read 715,854 times
Reputation: 1615
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boris347 View Post
It should be no more than Civilians get. You know what your agreeing to right up front, and know what the commitment is, and what happens if you don't abide. You have the same choice as a Civilian. Don't take the job. Find another job if you don't like that one. No one forces you to take the job. Its a Job. You get paid.

Yes, it can be a risky Job, same as being a lineman for an Electric Company can be one, while you shutting breakers on a pole in a Storm so people can get power. The risks come with the job, and are understood before your hired.

comparing an Electric Company lineman to a soldier is laughable !

not even an apples to oranges !
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Old 04-05-2015, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque NM
1,662 posts, read 1,529,751 times
Reputation: 3650
Quote:
Originally Posted by VAGeek View Post
As other posters have noted, this won't affect current retirees.

I think the most sensible solution is to replace the military retirement with FERS for all unvested military personnel. That would include the TSP match (up to 5% of salary) and a defined benefit of 1.7% (not 2.5%) per year of the veteran's high-3 average salary, starting at age 62. As with civil service, there should be a mandatory salary deduction to fund this defined benefit, and the military budget should reflect the remaining cost of the benefit. Every veteran with at least 5 years of service should receive the FERS pension/benefit starting at age 62, just like civil service employees. And the government should refund the pension/benefit contributions for any veteran that serves less than 5 years (who do not qualify for a pension without additional service), just as it does for civil service.
I see what you are saying about the FERS pension starting at age 62 for those with at least 5 years of service but I think it implies that federal employees are not getting their pensions until age 62 which is not the case. Standard federal employees can retire at age 60 with 20 years of service and at a Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) based on DOB with 30 years of service. Generally the MRA is age 56 or 57. Those with at least 5 years but less than 20 years of service can retire at age 62. But Law Enforcement (LEO), Firefighters, and Air Traffic Controllers have mandatory retirement ages of 57 and 56 and are eligible for a pension at age 50 with 20 years of service or any age with 25 years of service. Also retired federal employees can receive a FERS supplement until age 62 to tide them over until eligible for Social Security. There are congressional proposals to terminate the FERS supplement for federal employees and the President has been receptive to this cut.

The military has all sorts of rules to force retirement at an early age and I can't imagine that we want a bunch of 50 year old soldiers. And it seems very unfair to make people retire with 20 years at an early age but defer their retirement pay to age 62. Plus I am under the assumption that military salaries are much less than federal civilian salaries but with more benefits such as free medical and housing pay. But housing pay does not factor into their pensions (?). If there was no COLA (and there is no inflation factor added for civil service deferred retirement), their pension calculated at age 40-50 would be very small by age 62.
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Old 04-05-2015, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,697 posts, read 49,495,894 times
Reputation: 19146
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
... Anyone here getting a military pension?
I am a retired Submariner. I retired as as E6, I get a military pension and I use Tricare [in my region it is under-written by a regional company called Martin's Point].

50% of Base-pay, hmm, keep in mind that base-pay is routinely a small portion of take-home pay. During most of my Active Duty career, base-pay was 1/3 of my take-home pay.

Our pension is not based on take-home pay.
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