Recent news from The MOAA Newsletter. View previous editions of Council and Chapter News here.
USAA Sponsorship Funds Are Going Fast
Because of the high usage from our chapters for the USAA sponsorship program, limited funds are available. Remember, funds are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have not submitted an application, do so before funds runs out. Learn more.
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For news articles, commentary, and important MOAA updates, visit facebook.com/moaa. Like our page, and please encourage your members to do the same!
2018 Community Outreach Grant Recipients
The MOAA Foundation has selected 19 chapters to receive funds for its Community Outreach Grant program.
The MOAA Foundation (TMF) has announced the 2018 recipients of its Community Outreach Grant program.
MOAA chapters receiving a portion of the $75,000 in grants are
- Charlotte-Metrolina (N.C.) Chapter
- Coronado (Ariz.) Chapter
- El Paso (Texas) Chapter
- Grand Strand (S.C.) Chapter
- Greater Dallas (Texas) Chapter
- Greater Granbury (Texas) Chapter
- Heart of America (Mo.) Chapter
- Indian River County (Fla.) Chapter
- Luke (Ariz.) Chapter
- North Texas Chapter
- Northwest Florida Chapter
- Ohio Western Reserve Chapter
- South Central Florida Chapter
- Southeast Wisconsin Chapter
- Southern Maine Chapter
- Southwest Virginia Chapter
- St. Petersburg Area (Fla.) Chapter
- Treasure Coast (Fla.) Chapter
- Western Montana MOA
The program awards grants to MOAA councils or chapters actively providing direct programs and services to uniformed servicemembers and veteran families in their local communities in one of eight areas of critical family need: housing, food assistance, employment, health (including behavioral health), family strength, community reintegration, financial and legal assistance, and transportation.
Nominate Your Legislative Chair/Liaison
Nominations for the 2018 Colonel Steve Strobridge Legislative Chair/Liaison Award are due by July 31.
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 July 31 to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will be recognized during MOAA’s annual meeting in Phoenix this fall.
Virginia Council of Chapters Hosts Congressional Appreciation Event
Members of Congress from both parties discussed military and veterans’ legislative issues with leaders from MOAA’s Virginia chapters.
The Virginia Council of Chapters (VCOC) hosted its 34th annual Congressional Appreciation Luncheon May 9 at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C. Members of the Virginia congressional delegation discussed key state and national defense-related legislative issues with leaders from the 18 Virginia chapters — representing each of the commonwealth’s 11 districts.
Read more about the event, including comments from additional legislators.
Seeking Input On State-Level Advocacy Matters
National MOAA wants to hear from councils and chapters regarding state-level advocacy and use of the State Report Card.
National MOAA is collecting input to determine council and chapter state-level advocacy needs in order to implement support and design responsive programming. Capt. Erin Stone, USN (Ret), MOAA program director for engagement, is working in collaboration with Col. Dan Merry, USAF (Ret), MOAA vice president of Government Relations.
Please specifically consider your use of the State Report Card (SRC) in advocacy efforts, as well as your overall requirements, and email input by July 13 to email@example.com on any or all of the following questions:
- Do you use the SRC for advocacy? If so, please comment on the effectiveness and provide any recommended improvements.
- If we were to change the SRC, what indicia of “military friendliness” should be included?
- If we were to turn over some administrative control of the SRC (i.e., updating regularly) to councils and chapters, would you be willing and able to support?
- What are your council’s/chapter’s legislative priorities?
- With what aspects of state advocacy do you need help?
- What other ideas do you have to create more collaboration with other councils, chapters, and national MOAA?
Thank you to those who already have provided input based on presentations during Storming the Hill or a regional workshop/event.
We Want to Highlight Your Chapter in Military Officer
The October issue of Military Officer will include expanded coverage of MOAA council and chapter activities. Email high-resolution photos with caption information and short articles about your affiliate’s activities — community-service projects, advocacy efforts, fundraisers, award ceremonies, etcetera — so we can showcase your hard work. Send submissions to Contributing Editor Blair Drake at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get Newsletter Content From National MOAA
Need some content to supplement your chapter’s newsletter? The White Label 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.
Surviving Spouse Corner: SSAC Storms the Hill
Participants in MOAA’s annual lobbying event on Capitol Hill spoke to legislators about several key issues affecting the military community.
By Patricia Bergquist, Surviving Spouse Advisory Committee member
On April 18, Surviving Spouse Advisory Committee (SSAC) members joined over 160 participants — including members of MOAA’s board of directors and staff, council and chapter leaders from almost every state, and members of the Currently Serving Advisory Council and Currently Serving Spouse Advisory Council — for MOAA’s annual Storming the Hill event in Washington, D.C. The storming teams spoke to legislators about two urgent issues: military pay and benefits and Chapter 61 retirees.
Stormers asked congressional leaders to support the president’s proposed 2.6-percent pay raise for FY 2019 to protect servicemembers against erosion of military pay and benefits. The maintenance of pay and benefits is critical to recruiting and retaining the all-volunteer force needed to address our country’s security and combat forces today and in the future.
Chapter 61 retirees are servicemembers who were medically discharged due to noncombat injury or illness while serving in the line of duty and with under 20 years of service through no fault of their own (H.R. 333). There are roughly 210,000 Chapter 61 retirees, and more than 90 percent were enlisted. To reduce the cost of implementation, MOAA has focused on those medically retired with a disability rating of 30 percent or greater. In 2001, Congress passed concurrent receipt for servicemembers with 50 percent or higher disability. MOAA believes all servicemembers should receive both their retirement and disability pay.
Two other issues that remain on MOAA’s radar and continue to be addressed on the Hill are the Survivor Benefit Plan/Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (SBP/DIC) offset and TRICARE fees.
MOAA has been fighting 16 years to end the SBP/DIC offset (the “widows tax”), which requires surviving spouses of active duty or retired servicemembers who died of service-connected issues to forfeit $1 of SBP annuity for every $1 of DIC received. In 2008, Congress approved a Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA), with incremental increases over 10 years, to partially compensate for the SBP/DIC injustice and work toward eliminating the offset. The SSIA was extended permanently last year at $310 a month, with incremental increases tied to COLA and addresses 25 percent of the widows tax.
Stormers asked legislators to cosponsor and support current legislation (H.R. 846 and S. 339) and urged House and Senate Armed Service Committee members to include a “sense of Congress” to end the widows tax in the FY 2019 defense bill. If the full repeal cannot be funded, the SSIA should be increased above COLA adjustments to mitigate the effects of the widows tax.
Stormers left an issue paper with each congressional office asking that DoD be directed to immediately review the higher TRICARE fees and their impact on beneficiaries and required to be transparent, to report gross revenue generated from new fees, and to identify accounts where the new revenue has been spent.
Please contact your legislators on these issues using MOAA’s toll-free line to the capitol switchboard, (800) 272-6622. Ask the operator to connect you with your legislator’s office, then ask to speak with the legislative assistant or military legislative assistant, and request cosponsorship and support on these issues.
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.
On May 5, the Cape Cod (Mass.) Chapter awarded scholarships totaling $12,000 to three local high school seniors. The awarded ceremony was held at the Brookside Club, and Capt. Michael A. Hudson, USCG, commanding officer, U.S. Coast Guard Base Cape Cod, spoke at the event. Since the program’s inception, the chapter has awarded over $207,000 to graduating seniors who reside on Cape Cod and the Islands.
Each month, the Greater St. Louis Chapter collects monetary donations for St. Louis Fisher House. During the April luncheon, members donated nearly $75, which will be used to purchase paper napkins, plates, paper towels, snacks, laundry detergent, and bottled water for the public areas of Fisher House.
The Fort Campbell (Tenn.) Chapter sponsored a hole at the 25th annual Godfather Invitational Golf Tournament April 24 at Clarksville Country Club. The Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee hosted the golf tournament as part of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Warrior Week.
The Mid-Missouri Chapter sponsored a Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony at the Boone County Courthouse. The ceremony, part of the 30th annual Salute to Veterans Memorial Day Weekend Celebration, was held at 9 a.m. May 28. In addition, following the parade, the chapter sponsored the Salute to Armed Forces Celebration at Columbia College where two parachute teams performed.