Armed Forces News

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is expected to offer a floor amendment to the fiscal Defense Department 2005 authorization act which would phase out the 36 percent slash in Survivor Benefit Plan annuities faced by most military widow beneficiaries at age 62. To gain support for the amendment, 113 high ranking military retirees have sent a letter to Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, Sen. John Warner, R-Va. The group, called the Critical Issues Round Table, includes 107 retired admirals and generals and six retired senior enlisted members. The letter labels the SBP reduction an injustice because federal civilian retirees face no similar reduction in their SBPs and because the government did not fully explain the age-62 reduction in benefits when retirees initially enrolled in the program. Of particular concern are survivors of enlisted members who have the fewest resources and need the most help, the letter says.