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PREPARE FOR ACTION Visit www .moaa.org/ email or call (800) 234- MOAA (6622) to subscribe to The MOAA Newsletter. You can choose how frequently you receive it — weekly, biweekly, or monthly — and select topic areas of inter- est, including advocacy, health care and earned ben- efits, finance, and transition. We’ll keep you informed and let you know when we need you to take action.


prohibited from receiving military retired pay concurrently with VA disability compensation. Military survivors whose sponsors died of service-con- nected causes suffer from the widows tax, a dollar-for-dol- lar offset of DoD’s Survivor Benefit Plan from the VA’s


Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. The remedy: Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) have introduced legis- lation to expand concurrent receipt for disabled retirees. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) introduced legislation to elimi- nate the widows tax. See S. 66 and H.R. 333, bills to expand concurrent receipt, and H.R. 846 and S. 339 to end the widows tax.


EIGHT Action item: Ensure the Guard and Reserve sys- tem adequately supports requirements for an operational reserve. Who is affected? Members of the reserve com- ponents and their families The issue: Members of the Guard and Reserve community have proven their mettle many times over during the past 16 years of armed conflict. Meanwhile, the paradigm for reserve component usage has changed from a strategic reserve to a combat-ready warfighting element incorporated into current and future war plan- ning. As the demands on Guard and Reserve troops have evolved, so has the need for benefits comparable to their active duty counterparts. The remedy: MOAA will continue to work with Congress to generate and support legislation strengthening legal protections for Guard and Reserve members in their civilian employment and in consumer contracts.


40 | MILITARY OFFICER | January 2018


NINE The issue: Recruiting and retention of an all-vol- unteer force require alignment of spouse and family support programs. Who is affected? Every servicemember who has or will have a family The issue: The decision to remain in service often is made around the kitchen table and con- siders the evolving needs of the entire family, including the employment, educational, and health care needs of non-serving family members; access to child care; and the frequency of relocations. The remedy: Decrease the military spouse un- employment rate, which remains four to six times higher than the national rate. Increase the synergy between family support and health care systems, along with initiatives to address schools lacking appropriate resources to keep mobile military children on track.


TEN Action item: Ensure timely access to VA health care and preserve veterans’ earned benefits. Who is affected? There are 21 million veterans in the U.S., with 6.7 million receiving care from the Veterans Health Adminis- tration. The issue: The demand for VA health care and benefits continues to grow, even as the agency has received insufficient funding from Congress and faced frequent proposals for budget cuts. The remedy: MOAA continues to press for VA health care and benefit system transformation, including investments in technology, financial systems, and infrastructure.


IMAGES: CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE LEFT, ROBUART/SHUTTERSTOCK; LANCE CPL. DAMON MCLEAN, USMC; PETTY OFFICER 1ST CLASS DANIEL HINTON, USN; CUBE29/SHUTTERSTOCK


COVER STORY


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