Guard & Reserve GI Bill Fairness Act

September 9, 2015

Stand up for the members of the Guard and Reserve! Members of the Selected Reserve who are wounded in combat often receive orders under title 10 for the period of their treatment, recovery, and rehabilitation. However, this period of “active duty” recuperation time does not count toward qualification for GI Bill benefits. This situation is unfair and illogical. The “GI Bill Fairness Act,” S. 602 introduced by Senators John Boozman of Arkansas and Ron Wyden of Oregon as well as a companion bill in the house H.R. 1141, by Rep. Mark Takano of California would end that unequal treatment and ensure these warriors are eligible for the same GI bill benefits as active duty members of the military.

Take action here!

S 241 Military Family Relief Act of 2015

September 9, 2015

By law, in order to receive benefits under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) program, the surviving spouse of a recently deceased service-connected disabled military veteran must file a claim and have it approved before the spouse is eligible to receive DIC. This claims-approval process can take several months.

S. 241, the “Military Family Relief Act of 2015” would expedite the process through which the VA provides survivor benefits to these recently widowed spouses, and have the VA automatically provide pension benefits to these widows of fallen service members and veterans for up to six months, thereby alleviating pressure on families during a difficult emotional time.

Take action here!

HR 216 Department of Veterans Affairs Budget Planning Reform Act of 2015

September 9, 2015

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ annual budget planning process generally has been disorganized and ineffective, as this huge agency responds to one crisis after another. H.R. 216, the “Department of Veterans Affairs Budget Planning Reform Act of 2015,” would provide a solid, organized framework-a blueprint–for the planning and budgeting for important veterans programs-at all levels of this bureaucracy. Simply put, it would be a strong step toward providing order in the coordinated planning and budgeting for the various disciplines funded within the Department. This bill passed the House of Representatives on 24 March 2015 and is currently under consideration in the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Take action here!

Repeal or Modify the Former Spouse Protection Act

September 9, 2015

Military members have a separate, unique divorce law that awards a portion of military retirement pay to any ex-spouse, regardless of fault of circumstances. While the law does not mandate such an award, providing a former spouse with a portion of retirement pay has become automatic due to legal precedent. Further, the award of a percentage of military retirement pay to a former spouse does not terminate when they remarry; it is not based on the service member’s rank at the time of divorce; and the former spouse gets this “award” for life-regardless of the duration of the marriage.

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Support Full 2.3% Military Pay Raise

July 8, 2015

As the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has been debated and accomplished in the House and Senate (separately) during the first six months of this year, the House has indicated it supports the full 2.3 percent military pay raise as dictated by the ECI formula. However, the Senate’s version of the NDAA has only a 1.3 percent military pay raise starting in January 2016. Because the House and Senate are in disagreement over the pay raise, this issue must be resolved via the joint House and Senate conference (now underway) to come up with a single FY 2016 NDAA.

Take action here!

FY16 Proposed National Defense Authorization Act

May 26, 2015

The Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Plan calls for a low military pay raise, further increases in out-of-pocket housing costs, commissary benefit changes, the elimination of the TRICARE system, new user fees for TRICARE for Life, and cost increases for prescriptions to military members, retirees, and their families. Please contact your elected officials about these cuts to military benefits.

Take action here!

Military Retiree Survivor Comfort Act

May 26, 2015

H.R. 454, the “Military Retiree Survivor Comfort Act,” sponsored by Rep. Walter Jones, R-NC., would forgive “any over-payment of military retired or retainer pay for any period after the death of the recipient through the last day of the month in which such death occurs, if such payment is electronically deposited to a joint account bearing the name of the decedent and the decedent’s designated beneficiary.” Under current law, the survivor of a military retiree must pay back a prorated portion of the deceased’s final month’s pay.

Take action here!

Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act

May 26, 2015

Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., D-GA., has introduced H.R. 333, the “Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act,” which would provide full concurrent receipt for all military retirees having a service connected disability rating (including those who have been medically retired)-regardless of their VA disability rating level. Currently, veterans with disabilities rated below 50 percent lose one retirement dollar for each compensation dollar received from the VA.

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Support Guard & Reserve Veteran Status

May 26, 2015

Senators Boozman and Donnelly along with Congressman Tim Walz have introduced Companion bills (S 743 & HR 1384) that would give the official title of “Veteran” to those members who performed 20 years of honorable service. Currently, the title is only associated with active duty service. Please support our servicemembers of the Guard and Reserve.

Take action here!

CHAMPVA Children’s Protection Act

May 26, 2015

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has introduced S. 170 & Rep Corrine Brown D-Fl. has introduced HR 218 which are similar bills calling for the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Veterans Administration to correct the program’s maximum age to 26; making it coincide with the age limit under the Affordable Care Act and DoD’s TRICARE Young Adult program. This will allow children to be kept on a parents insurance until they turn 26.

Take action here!