Budget cuts put military and veteran benefits in jeopardy

July 14, 2014

Congressionally mandated sequestration, or reduction of the federal budget, is resulting in a shrinking Pentagon budget.

The nation’s legislators and pentagon officials are looking for ways to cut costs. Military personnel benefits including active duty and retired pay, cost-of-living increases, TRICARE medical coverage, the commissary system and long-term survivor benefits have come under attack.

At the same time, the Veterans Administration medical systems, the largest single provider of medical care in the nation, is embroiled in a scandal over mismanagement of their medical appointment system. Fixing it will further strain the budget.

At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 15, in the fellowship hall of the Mount Jefferson Presbyterian Church, 201 S. Jefferson Ave. West Jefferson, Colonel Mike Hayden, USAF-Ret., and Director of Government Relations for the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) headquartered in Washington, DC, will address High Country veterans, National Guard, Reserve, retired military personnel of all services and ranks, and surviving spouses on the threats to military personnel benefits, pay and medical care.

His presentation is being jointly sponsored by MOAA’s Ashe County-based New River Chapter along with Boone’s High Country Chapter and Winston-Salem’s Tarheel Chapter.

The High Country region of North Carolina is home to thousands of men and women who are serving or have served their country through uniformed military service. According to the New River Chapter’s Colonel Charles Knapp, USA-Ret., any individual, including spouses and other beneficiaries, receiving financial benefits of any kind, medical care benefits, or VA benefits linked to uniformed military service should attend Hayden’s presentation that will include a generous question and answer period.

Hayden leads MOAA’s lobbying efforts to inform and educate Congress on the issues directly impacting military personnel benefits. He and his staff coordinate with other veterans organizations such as The American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign War and many others.

Hayden joined the MOAA legislative team in July 2005 upon completion of a 25-year military career in air and space operations, personnel, recruiting, training, and education. He’s also the Co-Chairman of the Military Coalition, a group of 33 military, veterans and uniformed services organizations, and his written columns appear frequently in national publications.