Entries in US Soldiers (4)


Extra Paycheck for Retired Soldiers

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Who wouldn't want an extra paycheck every year? For millions of retired soldiers that wish is about to come true, but not without some potential problems with the IRS.

The Department of Defense says it will change some dates when former soldiers receive their retirement pay and other benefits. Generally, the department cuts paychecks on the first day of every month. In the past, if the first day of the month fell on a weekend or holiday, the government would wait until the next business day to cut checks.

Beginning in October, that protocol will change. Instead of waiting for the end of the weekend or holiday, now the department will send checks on the last business day prior to the first of the month.
For 2011, this means two paydays will change. Checks scheduled for Oct. 3 will actually go out on Sept. 30, and those scheduled for Jan. 3, 2012 will be cut on Dec. 30, 2011.

This is mostly good news, especially for retired soldiers who have student loans, payday loans, or other types of loans set up for automatic withdrawal from their bank accounts, says Katie Savant, government relations director for the National Military Family Association.

But the change could also mean an increased tax burden, points out Joe Morrin, senior vice president of financial planning at First Command. Moving the January payment back into December means that retirees will receive 13 checks in 2011 instead of their normal 12, which means an 8.3 percent increase in taxable income.

The extra paycheck for 2012 could also increase the amount of Social Security benefits that are subject to taxation, Morrin says, which makes it even more important that retirees check in with their financial planners about the change. He also expresses concern over retirees’ Roth IRAs and potential underpayment penalties, especially for those who had a certain amount due on this year’s return and have not yet adjusted their withholdings.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Chamber of Commerce Offering Job Help to Veterans

US Chamber of Commerce(NEW YORK) -- As thousands of troops prepare to come home soon from Afghanistan, those who choose to leave the military may have difficulty finding work.  The unemployment rate for veterans is already well above the national average.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hopes to alleviate this by launching a nationwide campaign to find jobs for veterans.

"What we're doing is connecting employers with those veterans," Kevin Schmigel of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says.

The former Marine notes that most vets make great workers, saying, "90 percent of all military occupations are directly transferable to jobs in the private sector."

Schmigel and the lobbying group are organizing a series of major job fairs for veterans that will provide advice on how to get a job.  During the events, vets will get a chance to "talk about what their skill set in the military will mean to a company," he says.

"I think they also need to take some time to sit down with people and do interviews," Schmigel adds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Delta Air Lines Ups Baggage Limit After Soldiers Charged with Fees

PRNewsFoto/Delta Air Lines(ATLANTA) -- Faced with some pretty bad press after it was revealed that U.S. soldiers returning from Afghanistan got hit with hefty checked baggage fees, Delta Air Lines issued an apology Wednesday, saying it was changing its luggage policy for servicemen and women.

The incident began when two soldiers aboard the Delta flight posted a video on YouTube, explaining that their military orders made clear that they were authorized to carry four bags.  Altogether the unit, made up of 34 soldiers, paid over $2,800 in baggage fees, all out of their own pockets.

Delta said that it was common policy to charge for that extra bag since the soldiers were travelling in coach.  At the time the complaint was posted by the two soliders, service members were allowed to check three bags, and unless they flew first or business class, they were charged $200 for each additional piece of luggage.

The airlines has since upped its free checked baggage allotment for military personnel, allowing those travelling in first and business class to carry up to five bags for free and those in coach to carry up to four.

Moreover, the military has said it will reimburse the soldiers for the fees.

Other airlines have since followed suit, revising their luggage policies as well.

American Airlines told ABC News Radio, “We at American Airlines are currently in the process of going to five free checked bags for our military personnel.  Full implementation of that policy should be completed in the next few days."

United Airlines and Continental Airlines also told ABC News that they increased their free checked baggage allotment to four, matching Delta.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Troops Charged for Extra Bags; Delta Apologizes for Miscommunication

Delta Air Lines(BALTIMORE) -- The last thing you need after fighting in Afghanistan is to fight with an airline over baggage fees.

U.S. soldiers on a flight from Baltimore to Atlanta had to do just that with Delta Air Lines on Tuesday after the carrier charged them $2,800 in luggage fees.

While on board, some of the troops expressed their anger by recording a video, which was later posted online on YouTube.  The soldiers said they were told they could check in up to four bags on the flight without having to pay any fees.

Delta issued an apology after the incident but said it was all a big miscommunication.  Under the company's rules, active duty U.S. military personnel traveling on orders may check up to four bags in first class and three bags in coach for free.

The soldiers, however, did not meet this criteria since they were apparently traveling with four bags in coach.

The airline said it is "currently looking further into the situation, and will be reaching out to each of [the soldiers] personally to address their concerns and work to correct any issues they have faced."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio