While many key House and Senate panels have completed their FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) markups, there’s plenty more work to do on this critical, must-pass piece of legislation.
And not just for the lawmakers.
The link below details several MOAA-supported provisions included in early NDAA drafts – the Basic Needs Allowance for military families at or near the poverty line, parity for special and incentive pays for the active and reserve components, and much-needed reforms to family support programs, to name a few. But with the full House Armed Services Committee markup set for Sept. 1, there’s time to continue the push for some of the materials yet to be addressed.
Here’s a look at three of these issues, with shareable links so you can let your legislator know these measures remain important.
Concurrent Receipt: The Major Richard Star Act would represent a significant step toward MOAA’s goal of full concurrent receipt for all medical retirees. It would grant concurrent receipt – the ability to receive both VA disability compensation and DoD retirement pay, without an offset – to combat-related “Chapter 61” retirees.
The bill has support from more than 160 co-sponsors, including a majority of the Senate. Ask your lawmaker to co-sponsor the bill and advocate for its NDAA inclusion.
Arlington Eligibility: Planned changes to eligibility rules at Arlington National Cemetery are designed to address space concerns but create more problems than they solve. The changes discriminate against some servicemembers based on their type of service, fail to stress the importance of establishing a new national cemetery, and, most glaringly, fail to grandfather in living retirees under existing eligibility criteria. This last concern could lead to painful end-of-life decisions for military families and changes to memorial plans in place for decades.
In a recent letter, MOAA asked key lawmakers to use the NDAA as a way to direct DoD “to designate the next national cemetery that affords full military honors and to leave unchanged the current eligibility requirements earned through military service.” It’s important to continue pressure on lawmakers regarding this issue so they will act before the new rules take effect.
[TAKE ACTION: Ask Your Lawmakers to Preserve the National Cemetery Benefit]
TRICARE Coverage: MOAA’s fight to preserve the value of the TRICARE benefit regularly extends to beneficiaries with specific coverage needs that can go overlooked. While some NDAA draft language addresses MOAA’s concerns over access to high-quality mental health care, there are other areas that need to be addressed in a way that doesn’t raise costs or limit benefits for other TRICARE users:
- Families with adult dependents who seek to use TRICARE Young Adult (TYA) coverage face higher costs than their civilian counterparts, who benefit from a law mandating coverage for dependents up to age 26. Early drafts of the NDAA do not tackle this issue, which has been part of MOAA’s ongoing Advocacy in Action effort.
- Selected Reserve members – many of whom have taken part in battling the pandemic, combating civil unrest, and any number of other missions tackled by the reserve component in recent months – deserve better access to TRICARE coverage. Language from a House bill providing medical and dental care for these members at no out-of-pocket cost should be included in the NDAA process.
If you’ve already engaged with your lawmakers by sending the message above, consider placing a phone call at (866) 272-MOAA (6622), MOAA's toll-free line to the U.S. Capitol switchboard. You’ll be connected with your legislators' offices. And be sure to share the links with your social network so they can join our efforts.
Take Action With MOAA
MOAA is taking a stand in Washington on behalf of our active duty servicemembers and veterans. These issues may impact those you know or who are under your command.