MOAA’s Member Service Center: A Resource for Advocacy

MOAA’s Member Service Center: A Resource for Advocacy
MOAA’s Member Service Representatives frequently take part in advocacy activities. Here, Member Service Representative (now Chapter Affairs Specialist) Candice Young, right, stands with Eddie Garcia, center, then-Defense Fellow to Rep. Trent Kelly, and Col. Kenneth R. Pribyla, USAF (Ret), with MOAA's Colonel Billy Jones Chapter in Mississippi, during a 2019 Storming the Hill visit. (Courtesy photo)

MOAA members are well acquainted with the association’s Member Service Center (MSC). However, many may not realize the role the MSC plays in MOAA’s advocacy efforts.


For 14 consecutive years, MOAA has been recognized as a leading lobbying organization by The Hill, and the MSC has been instrumental in that recognition every year.


The MSC acts as a conduit between MOAA members and our Government Relations Department. By engaging with the MSC, members can bring topics and issues affecting the military community to the attention of our lobbyists and leadership. The MSC also acts as a knowledge resource to assist our members in their grassroots advocacy.


[RELATED: MOAA’s 2021 Legislative Priorities]


The Government Relations Department at MOAA is always tracking and working to resolve emerging issues of importance to the uniformed services community. This includes monitoring legislation and policy changes that will affect servicemembers’ pay and benefits. However, oftentimes servicemembers, their families, and survivors are the first to experience problems with implementation and other issues.


We encourage MOAA members who encounter problems and concerns to contact the MSC. While we may not be able to act as individual advocates in a particular situation, the problem could be affecting beneficiaries more broadly. The earlier we know of an issue, the earlier we can begin to assess, analyze, and take action.


In the weeks following the COVID-19 outbreak, calls and emails to the MSC became an evolving report – one our Government Relations personnel used to identify immediate and pressing issues. For example, MOAA was able to advocate for relief measures such as TRICARE coverage of audio-only telehealth appointments. Additionally, the MSC and Government Relations team helped many members navigate new policy for expiring ID cards, their extensions, and the challenging system to make an appointment. Through member engagement, MOAA was also able to provide information to our members and visitors, helping them to understand and navigate the impacts of the virus on military families and their benefits.


[RELATED: COVID-19 Resources and Updates]


In addition to MSC’s role of bringing your concerns and insight to our Government Relations personnel, our Member Service Representatives are available to assist you in grassroots advocacy. The most powerful voices for swaying Congress on compensation and benefits issues are those of servicemembers, their families, and survivors. Congress needs to hear firsthand how reductions in earned benefits affect you.


Veterans and career military spouses often have insight from years of experience to draw on when engaging with Congress. That is why letters, phone calls, and emails to your elected officials, whether through MOAA’s Take Action Center or outside of it, are so impactful.


When you’re planning to engage with your lawmakers, consider MOAA’s Member Service Representatives as a knowledge resource. If you have questions or concerns about the background of a given issue, want to know MOAA’s position or solutions for the issue, or just want to run your talking points by one of our team members, do not hesitate to call or email. Just recently, during the public comment period on the proposed eligibility changes to Arlington National Cemetery, Member Service Representatives provided information and support for MOAA members and veterans to submit comments in the federal rulemaking process.


Member Service Representatives also can provide information for contacting your elected officials, transfer your call to the Capitol Switchboard, or provides updates on legislation or legislative efforts. If a topic ever becomes too complex for the representative you are speaking with, you can ask to schedule an appointment with a Government Relations Liaison.


Engagement with the MSC is not a one-way avenue. As the new year begins, MOAA’s Government Relations personnel will continue to pursue MOAA’s mission to protect earned compensation and benefits. Do not hesitate to contact the MSC with your input, questions, or concerns about work with the 117th Congress. It is through our member’s efforts and continued support that MOAA remains a powerful voice improving the lives of those who serve, their families, and survivors.




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About the Author

Terry Waters
Terry Waters

Waters works as a Member Service Representative. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Arizona State University. Before joining the MOAA team, he worked as a congressional intern for Rep. Don Young.