Help MOAA Make a Difference for Surviving Spouses

Help MOAA Make a Difference for Surviving Spouses
Photo by Elizabeth Fraser/Arlington National Cemetery

Lawmakers have received more than 12,000 messages from MOAA’s Legislative Action Center on behalf of three bipartisan bills to improve surviving spouse benefits – legislation critical to MOAA’s ongoing work to ensure these members of our uniformed services community get the support they deserve.

 

If you’ve sent one (or more) of those messages, thank you – your grassroots efforts keep these issues on the minds of staffers and give MOAA’s advocates a louder voice when we reach out to legislative offices on Capitol Hill.

 

But whether you’ve been previously involved in these campaigns or you’re new to the movement, now is the time to act – the more focus MOAA can put on these bills, the greater the chance of their inclusion in the FY 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is already coming together in congressional meeting rooms and hallways. You can learn more about that process at this link.

 

Please consider sending (or resending) a prewritten message to your House member and senators using the links below. Personalize the message to make an ever greater impact, and keep up with MOAA’s Advocacy News page to see the progress of these bills and others during this election year.

 

[UPDATED MONTHLY: MOAA’s Surviving Spouse Corner]

 

Caring for Survivors Act

What: Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) for surviving spouses works out to about 43% of what a 100% service-disabled veteran would receive from the VA. Federal survivor programs offer beneficiaries 55% of a federal worker’s final pay under similar calculations. This bill would put DIC on par with the federal benefit.

 

Why: The current system is unfair to the survivors of uniformed servicemembers, many of whom supported these members through deployments, military moves, and other hardships not faced by the bulk of federal dependents.

 

Take Action: Ask Your Lawmakers to Support the Caring for Survivors Act

 

[MORE RESOURCES: MOAA.org/Survivors]

 

Love Lives On Act

What: This bill would remove restrictions on when a surviving spouse could remarry and retain their benefits, to include Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. Current law prevents spouses who remarry before age 55 from receiving this benefit, as well as access to educational assistance and other programs.

 

Why: This arbitrary timeline is not imposed on most surviving spouses of other federal employees. Surviving spouses of servicemembers should not face the threat of financial ruin as they move forward in their lives.

 

Take Action: Urge Your Legislators to Support Remarriage Legislation for Surviving Spouses

 

[MOAA MEMBER BENEFIT: Simplify Estate Planning With Everplans]

 

Respect for Grieving Military Families Act

What: The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) recoups the final month’s pay of a retired servicemembers immediately upon that member’s death. This action can create financial challenges for new surviving spouses; this legislation would end the practice and set up a procedure for spouses to gradually repay the amount.

 

Why: This recoupment can destabilize a surviving spouse’s finances at the worst possible time, leading to potential overdraft fees. A simple fix – the bill is less than three pages long – would make a world of difference during a time when survivors need the most support.

 

Take Action: Urge Your Legislators to Support the Respect for Grieving Military Families Act

 

MOAA Looks Out For You

MOAA is committed to protecting the rights of servicemembers and their families. Lend your voice and support these efforts today. Because the larger our voice is, the greater our impact will be.

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About the Author

Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and MOAA.org. Follow him on Twitter: @KRLilley