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COLA Watch
Old 08-19-2006, 11:55 AM   #1
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COLA Watch

COLA Watch


In mid-August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the July 2006 monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is used to calculate the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for military retired pay, VA disability compensation, survivor annuities, and Social Security.

The CPI continued its upward trend, rising another 0.3% in July -- for a cumulative increase of 3.4% so far this fiscal year. Once again, a large share of the increase was due to a jump in energy prices.

Last year, the CPI had risen 3.2% through the month of July and ended up the year at 4.1%. With inflation running slightly ahead of last year's pace so far, it would seem likely that we’ll end this year in the same ballpark. We can still hope that inflation in the last two months of this year may not match last year's experience, when Hurricane Katrina sent energy prices soaring.

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Re: COLA Watch
Old 08-19-2006, 12:09 PM   #2
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Re: COLA Watch

I know that I'm supposed to feel "grateful" for serving my country.* Let's see - my 10% disability (AO exposure in Nam) will go from $112 to $115 (always rounded down).

Damn - $3/mo - enough to hold a party* (the one I didn't get when I came home...)

Sorry to sound so negative - just another Nam vet - venting (time for another glass of wine - or is it whine?)

- Ron...
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Re: COLA Watch
Old 08-19-2006, 08:58 PM   #3
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Re: COLA Watch

Ron,

I'll drink to you!


setab
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Re: COLA Watch
Old 08-20-2006, 06:08 AM   #4
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Re: COLA Watch

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Originally Posted by setab
Ron,

I'll drink to you!


setab
Thanks for the reply.
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Re: COLA Watch
Old 08-20-2006, 07:05 AM   #5
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Re: COLA Watch

Ron,

Thanks for your service to our country.

There are a couple of Viet Nam vets in my National Guard unit, but they are retiring this year when they turn 60. One has been in close to 40 years!

We can only hope that the VA and other veterans services get the funding and political support they need.

Bill
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Re: COLA Watch
Old 08-20-2006, 07:17 AM   #6
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Re: COLA Watch

I wish to thank all the military people also... you have kept us safe...

I do have a completly different question.. and it is only a small thread hijack as it only need a short answer...

The other day we were talking about a veteran hospital... my old boss's daughter started to work in one the other day... we started to wonder which veterans qualify to go to one of the VA hospitals?? Is it free to them?
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Re: COLA Watch
Old 08-20-2006, 09:17 AM   #7
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Re: COLA Watch

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Originally Posted by Texas Proud
which veterans qualify to go to one of the VA hospitals??* Is it free to them?
An answer could probably be found here:

http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/HECHome.htm

I know that there are "classifications" of folks, depending on their military service and what their "challange" is, and you are rated upon signing up (recommended for all vets, even if services are never used).

Also, there are limitations on certain things.* For instance, I can get treatment on conditions related to my A.O. exposure, but not conditions that fall "outside of the range" of the declared "conditions".

In addition, I don't get "free" coverage, since I do have medical coverage (from my employment).* Even my FIL, who was a WWII vet, didn't get drugs in his later years, because his cancer was not a result of his service 50+ ago, and as a retiree who had a pension, had "too much income" to qualify.

It's a government program, run by government rules.* However, funding is also left up to the government so the availabillity of services to vets have been highly curtailed.* As Bimmerbill mentioned funding and political support is a challange and will continue to be so in the future.

Again, thanks for your comments, and don't forget our troops that are still in harm's way.

- Ron
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Re: COLA Watch
Old 08-20-2006, 11:49 AM   #8
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Re: COLA Watch

As an Army National Guardsmen of 22 years I am not entitled to any VA medical benefits until age 60 as part of my retirment.

I believe that I would be entitled to some benefits if I was wounded in action and received a Purple Heart. I will ask some of the folks I work with if this is true.

There are limited benefits for National Guard members who return from deployment. I think it is something like 3 years or so after each deployment, but it may be only for conditions/wounds that were caused during the deployment.

I actually scheduled a VA representative to give a briefing next month for my unit. Most of us don't know what is available. It will be intresting to see what, if any, benefits are available.
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Re: COLA Watch
Old 08-20-2006, 11:50 AM   #9
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Re: COLA Watch

Bill,

Quote:
they are retiring this year when they turn 60.
Since these guys have at least 20 "good years" they will be considered at the same level as retired active duty soldiers when they hit 60. In fact when they retire they transfer to exactly the same retired status as retired AD soldiers. They will be eligible for Tricare (medical benefits) and will not have to rely on the VA for medical care.
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Re: COLA Watch
Old 08-20-2006, 11:55 AM   #10
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Re: COLA Watch

Yeah, I will retire in 9 months with 20 good, 22 for pay. Trouble is, I will be 40 next week so I need to wait 20 years before I get the same benefit!

Hope it is still a benefit 20 years from now!
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Re: COLA Watch
Old 08-20-2006, 11:59 AM   #11
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Re: COLA Watch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerbill
I believe that I would be entitled to some benefits if I was wounded in action and received a Purple Heart.* I will ask some of the folks I work with if this is true.
One of the best books I've read on military benefits is a library copy of Chris Michel's"The Military Advantage". *He's a Reservist and the founder of Military.com. *

When that VA rep gives the brief, ask what benefits are available between retirement (after 20 good years) and age 60. *

Spouse gave a retirement brief to her Reserve unit a few months ago based on articles published by the Naval Reserve Association. When the questions died down and everyone clearly understood the various events that occur between that "20 years" letter and age 60, nearly a third of the unit filed for retirement. Depending on your perspective it was either her finest retention moment-- or her worst.
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Re: COLA Watch
Old 08-20-2006, 01:23 PM   #12
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Re: COLA Watch

Ahaha Nords, If I gave a brief like that and caused that kind of mass exodus I am sure I'd be standing tall in the batallion commanders office! Our numbers have been circling the drain in recent months.

The Army calls it "Gray Area" retirement, and there are not many benefits associated with it at all compared to being a drilling member. One of the biggest dissapointments is that I can't take my spouse with me on Space A flights (limited to CONUS until I am age 60).

https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/reserv...t/grayarea.htm

Has a good roll up. Still, I shouldn't complain since there are some bennies associated with giving up 22 years worth of weekends and summers...
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Re: COLA Watch
Old 08-20-2006, 01:40 PM   #13
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Re: COLA Watch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerbill
Ahaha Nords, If I gave a brief like that and caused that kind of mass exodus I am sure I'd be standing tall in the batallion commanders office!* Our numbers have been circling the drain in recent months.*
She's volunteering her weekends for points in the Volunteer Training Unit, and most of those guys are just hanging around for pay longevity increases. (Well, plus each additional retirement point is worth about 40 cents/month for the rest of their lives.) When they found out that they could achieve the same longevity effect with a retirement request they were sprinting for the exits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerbill
The Army calls it "Gray Area" retirement, and there are not many benefits associated with it at all compared to being a drilling member.
That must be a common Reserve/NG term-- Navy uses that too.

Speaking of gray area benefits, get out while the getting's good.

Spouse noticed an innocuous little line in her manpower paperwork last weekend. BUPERS quietly established a Transient Personnel Unit for the Honolulu Reserve Center but didn't put any billets or bodies in it. The Navy uses TPUs for active-duty sailors who are about to be medically or administratively discharged but the Reserve VTUs have been doing that job for years.

She suspects that on 1 October the Navy Reserve will transfer all the Reservists awaiting medical/administrative discharge to the "new" TPUs. Then they'll take everyone else in the VTU and move them to "in assignment processing" for pay billets, which is an intermediate step to mobilizing them. By the end of the year it's expected that another 25,000 Navy Reservists will be backfilling whatever jobs the Army can't cover from their own Reserves or from the NG...

If you can file your retirement request before 1 Oct that might be a very smart move.
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Re: COLA Watch
Old 08-20-2006, 06:00 PM   #14
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Re: COLA Watch

Damn! I just got a new job at a shipyard and was going to check into the Naval Reserve.

I may still check into the Air National Guard, since my wife is not working due to our recent baby and I make such good money in the Guard.

Not worth an 18 month deployment in the Army Guard. Maybe the Air is better. Or maybe I should just retire.

I'd like to get out temporarily, for several years, and rejoin. Or at least leave the option of rejoining later. But as an officer I will have to resign my comission and go thru the whole comissioning process to reenter at a later date. Age may get me then, or the physical.
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