April 2021 Council and Chapter News

April 2021 Council and Chapter News

Recent news from The MOAA Newsletter. View previous editions of Council and Chapter News here. Send updates about your affiliate’s activities to blaird@moaa.org for possible inclusion in future editions.


Mail Your Letters to Congressional Leaders

Please sign, seal, stamp, and mail the blue-colored letters in the April issue of Military Officer to the preaddressed key congressional leaders. Join MOAA members nationwide to raise awareness about toxic exposure for currently serving troops, extend TRICARE coverage for adult children to align with commercial plans, and secure the Basic Needs Allowance for those most junior and vulnerable servicemembers with families.


Final Call for Levels of Excellence Award Entries

The deadline for this year’s program is May 1. Send in your nomination today!

Councils and chapters that want to be considered for a Levels of Excellence Award need to submit a nomination by May 1. To receive the maximum recruiting points, chapters must have 95% or more of their members be national MOAA members.

A standard set of rating criteria will be used to evaluate all councils and chapters that submit a package. The very best councils and chapters receive a five-star award, and above-average councils and chapters receive a four-star award.

Click here for details and nomination form.


Surviving Spouse Corner: Focusing on Finances After Loss

These considerations can help you navigate difficult financial decisions after the loss of your spouse.


By Pat Green, member, Surviving Spouse Advisory Committee


The loss of a spouse has quite an impact. At first, you are busy dealing with grief and helping your family recover from the loss. Eventually, though, you must focus your energy on finances.  You have lost your financial partner.


Your goal should be to live comfortably with as little financial stress as possible. Losing a spouse often means a reduction in family income. This requires some changes and hard decisions as you consider:

  • Where should I live? Many factors are involved in this decision. Work, commute time, children, their friends, activities, and school proximity, health, safety, and other family responsibilities are all important.

  • What can I afford? This is probably the most important consideration. If you and your spouse were conservative in spending, your living expenses and debt might be manageable. Do a budget analysis based on your current income and spending. Be aware of adjustments. Income might be down, but taxes might be up if your new IRS tax status is “single” (higher rates). Include new insurance costs for yourself to protect any dependents. Don’t forget to add in the expense of services your spouse provided, such as lawn mowing, painting, or handy jobs. Do the calculations. If you can stay put for a while, great!

  • How can I make changes to my current home? It’s home, and you love it. You can freshen things up with some inexpensive changes like rearranging furniture, adding some fresh paint, buying a new bed or bedspread, and relocating photos and wall art.

  • What if a change of address is necessary? Downsizing or moving might be the best option for your new financial circumstances or emotional state. Make a pro/con list of emotional factors and expenses. Be thoughtful about real estate commissions, state income tax, moving, and redecorating expenses as well as all those emotional pluses and minuses. Investigate whether spousal disability exemptions and entitlements are available at a new home or new location. Changing states can generate issues. Do your homework. Be diligent!


This is a lot to do and a lot to consider, but help and resources are available. There are excellent calculators and programs online to assist with mortgages, investments, budget analysis, and insurance decisions, including on MOAA.org. Find them at MOAA.org/Finance.

Read past Surviving Spouse Corners.


Nominate Your Surviving Spouse Liaison

Councils and chapters have until June 1 to submit nominations for the 2021 Surviving Spouse Liaison Excellence Award. The award is presented annually to a surviving spouse liaison who is a member of MOAA and who has made outstanding contributions to a MOAA council or chapter in support of surviving spouse members. Download the nomination form and instructions.


Nominate Your Legislative Chair/Liaison

The Colonel Steve Strobridge Legislative Chair/Liaison Award recognizes one MOAA council or chapter legislative chair/liaison who has demonstrated superior service in support of the national and/or state legislative agenda. Download the full award criteria and nomination form. Send questions and submit the completed nomination form and recommendation letter by June 1 to chapters@moaa.org.


Advertise MOAA Insurance in Your Chapter Newsletter and Earn $100

Did you know that Mercer Insurance will pay you $100 just for including an advertisement for MOAA Insurance in your chapter newsletter? Simply send an email to the company point of contact before May 31. Find more information and instructions.


Is Your Chapter Shopping for Liability Insurance?

Liability insurance is highly recommended for all MOAA affiliates and required for those receiving Community Outreach Grants. MOAA’s insurance provider, Mercer Insurance, provides coverage specifically for the types of activities in which MOAA chapters typically engage. Find additional details online. Please note you must contact michele.armesto@mercer.com rather than any other division of Mercer to get information about liability insurance.  


First-Quarter Recruitment Incentive

Earn an easy $50 for your chapter by registering for MOAA’s free online dues platform AND receiving any transaction by May 1. Chapters that already are using the tool do not need to do anything additional to receive the incentive. Learn more.


Get Newsletter Content From National MOAA

Need some content to supplement your chapter’s newsletter? The White Label Newsletter Template includes information, articles, and helpful tips from national MOAA that already are formatted for inclusion in your newsletter. The content is updated every month to ensure you are receiving timely, relevant information.   


From the Field

MOAA chapters give back to their communities through fundraising efforts, community-service projects, scholarship programs, and other initiatives. Here are some recent activities.


The Huntsville (Ala.) Chapter will, as it has for more than 10 consecutive years, make a sizable donation to and participate in the awarding of college scholarships to eligible military family members and Junior ROTC applicants under a local military club Merit Awards program. In partnership with the Redstone Arsenal Military and Civilians' Club, the chapter has raised money every year by hosting a scholarship fund golf tournament. When COVID-19 restrictions caused cancellation of the 2020 fundraising tournament, the Huntsville Chapter membership and area sponsors stepped up and donated $8,000, enabling the chapter to continue a tradition of awarding numerous significant scholarships to deserving students again this year.


The New Jersey Lakes and Pines Chapter honored Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) in March by making him an honorary member of the chapter. Kim has been a strong advocate of military issues and a strong supporter of the chapter. Most recently, he was central in getting all representatives in New Jersey to sign on to the repeal of the “widows tax.”


The Kings Bay (Ga.) Chapter recently donated $1,100 to the Coastal Georgia Honor Flight. Additionally, the chapter presented a check to College of Coastal Georgia President Michelle Johnston for the Kings Bay MOAA Scholarship and to support the Camden Center Veterans Lounge.


The Mountain Empire (Tenn.) Chapter recently started a new program to help veterans in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee who are struggling to make ends meet. Called Lifeline for Vets, the program offers financial assistance for rent, electric bills, groceries, or other day-to-day expenses. So far, the chapter has helped several veterans by paying their heating bills and providing grocery store gift cards to purchase food. Read more.


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