In August, most U.S. senators and representatives will be on recess in their home districts to meet with constituents. This is a great opportunity for you as a MOAA Council/Chapter leader - or simply as a MOAA member - to visit your elected officials' local offices or town hall meetings and advise them of your and MOAA's concerns on important matters.
Lawmakers have finished their work on the annual Defense Authorization Bill - the earliest it's been done in 20 years. It's important we now thank lawmakers for their efforts to:
- Provide a full 2.6 percent military pay raise;
- Block attempts to increase TRICARE fees for servicemembers and their families; and
- Protect housing allowances.
One thing lawmakers did not address in the annual Defense Authorization Bill is the “widows tax.” Under current law, survivors of deceased military members forfeit part or all of their Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity when they are awarded the VA's Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). For approximately 67,000 military survivors, the widows tax makes SBP the only insurance you pay into but are legally prohibited from collecting.
We need you to meet with your elected officials this August recess to urge them to support H.R. 846 and S. 339, bills sponsored by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), respectively.
This may be our last chance this year to eliminate the widows tax.
It's imperative to let our legislators know how we feel about these important topics.
This isn't just a “defending our rice bowl” issue; it's a critical matter for sustaining retention and readiness - the core of our national defense - over the long term.
To assist you in preparing for these meetings, we've developed a helpful fact sheet for you.
You don't have to be an expert on the issue. That's why we designed the package as we have - to include a two-page fact sheet on the issue that you can print and leave with the legislators and/or their staffs.
One of the reasons MOAA has been successful on Capitol Hill is that we have members who are willing to contact their legislators and express their views on issues that are important to them. Leaders who can say “We represent _____ MOAA members in our state” help convey that they're speaking for a substantial group of constituents.
The grassroots support of our members has never been as important as it is now.
You can use MOAA's website to find your legislators' local offices and send suggested messages to your representatives on a number of key issues.
Use this summary (PDF) to highlight the number of people affected in your state.
And this two-page fact sheet:
If you need a refresher on MOAA's list of 2018 goals, you can view them here.