Army Abandons Plan to Downgrade Benefits for Group of Retiring Captains
Jan 21, 2015
Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) January 21, 2015 – Congressional resistance mounted against a cost-saving measure enacted as part of a shrinking Army force.
This summer, the Army began a drawdown of forces that will reduce the service to about 450,000, which is its smallest size since World War II. Unfortunately, the cost-saving measures scheduled to accompany the cut in forces had an unappealing consequence for a group of captains whose benefits were downgraded to sergeants’ benefits.
In response, opposition to the plan materialized in Congress, and on December 15, the Army announced that it was reversing course on its drawdown policy and that the captains would retire at their current rank.
Under the Army’s summertime drawdown plan, 1,188 captains and 550 majors were being cut. Many of the officers from that group had been enlisted soldiers from 2006 to 2009, during the Iraq War, and were quickly promoted into officers during the Defense Department’s attempts to replace departing junior officers. They did not serve the eight years as captains required to retire at that rank. That fact prompted the Army to opt to pay them the benefits they would be entitled to at their highest enlisted rank (sergeant).
Upon learning of the plan, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., sent a letter to Secretary of the Army, John M. McHugh, saying, “To demote these soldiers in retirement is an injustice that devalues their service and will materially disadvantage them and their families for the rest of their lives.”
The Army then notified Congress that it was dropping its plan to downgrade benefits for the affected captains. The Army also notified an additional 44 officers who were being forced out two years shy of 20 years of service — the threshold for qualifying for full retirement benefits — that they would stay on the job after all.
“The Army’s original plan to downgrade benefits for many officers was an ill-conceived idea that would have sent the wrong message: that service during a conflict could potentially carry negative financial consequences, as well as the risk for injury or death,” said David W. Magann, an attorney in Tampa, Florida who specializes in legal services for veterans. “And it is important to remember that a significant number of enlisted soldiers who served during the Iraq War and other conflicts returned home with debilitating conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Lawmakers who urged the reversal say that the change could translate into an additional $1 million in benefits over a lifetime for 120 officers.
“The difference between paying a soldier benefits based on his or her highest enlisted rank and paying officer-scale benefits would have added up significantly over time for the affected officers,” Magann said. “It is refreshing to see that the Army did the right thing and abandoned an inherently unfair plan.”
Learn more at http://www.tampaveteranslawyer.com/
David W. Magann, P.A.
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175
4012 Gunn Highway #165
Tampa, Florida 33618
- PTSD, "Post" Means After And At Any Time
Government analysis finds Veterans with PTSD can suffer for decades before acknowledging the disorder. The year 2014 marks the 100th-year anniversary of the beginning of World War I, the so-called war to end all wars. And in a bit of irony, a study was released on August 8 that has found that, like the consequences of the “Great War,” the after-effects of combat stress among veterans, just like the after-effects of old wars upon conflicts years later, seems to linger for decades. The study, which was commissioned by the Department of Veterans Affairs, tracked veterans from as far back as the Vietnam […]
- Attorney Fees in VA Compensation are Contingent Upon You Winning
Attorney fees in VA Compensation claims are contingent upon winning benefits. The VA’s General Counsel office and regional offices must approve of all fee agreements, which allows 20% of the veteran’s BACK benefits, not future benefits, to be withheld to pay the representative. The attorney does not collect the fee directly from the veteran, but reasonable costs may be collected directly from the veteran claimant. By law, an individual must be accredited by VA as an agent, attorney, or representative of a VA-recognized veterans service organization to assist in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of a claim for VA benefits. […]
- Camp Lejeune Tainted Water Claim? New Rules You Can Use: Justice Delayed
For decades there has been medical complications statistically abnormal for those who were based in Camp Lejeune. Recently there has been considerable media and Congressional attention to the past contamination of the water supply at Camp Lejeune. From 1953 to 1987, the water supply was contaminated with TCE, PCE, benzene, vinyl chloride and “other compounds.” see https://clnr.hqi.usmc.mil/clwater/Site/background_information.html. Because of legislation passed in 2012, the VA now recognizes the medical problems caused by the Camp LeJeune water contamination. There are two areas that a Veteran may be awarded benefits listed below: (1) VA health care benefits may be available. These are […]