Surviving Spouse Corner: Engaging Surviving Spouses for Membership Growth

Surviving Spouse Corner: Engaging Surviving Spouses for Membership Growth
MOAA members take part in the Surviving Spouse Summit at the 2022 MOAA Annual Meeting of the Membership in Kansas City, Mo. (Mike Morones/MOAA)

Unfortunately, MOAA chapters lose members due to death. It is essential to recognize that for Life members of MOAA, their membership transfers to their spouse upon their death. But surviving spouses of military officers can also join MOAA on their own. The advantages of surviving spouses joining MOAA include:

  • A MOAA surviving spouse membership unlocks unique benefits. These include a robust support network tailored to their needs, dedicated advocacy on issues directly impacting surviving spouses, and a wealth of resources designed to guide them through life's challenges after loss. Encouraging a surviving spouse to join MOAA is an excellent source for maintaining and growing chapter membership.

[RELATED: Surviving Spouse Resources From MOAA]


  • As MOAA members, surviving spouses are welcomed into a community of peers who understand their unique journey. They receive updates on benefits and programs, participate in interpersonal and group activities, and find support and commitment. Joining MOAA bridges the knowledge gap that often follows the loss of a military spouse, ensuring all aspects are addressed. It is important to note that many surviving spouses might not know they can join MOAA, even if their military spouses were not members.

  • MOAA surviving spouses gain access to various communication and support channels tailored to their membership level. These include telephone, email, magazines, websites, social media, virtual meetings, and webinars. This comprehensive range of options ensures they can always contact MOAA for assistance regardless of location or specific needs.

  • Research published in Jeffrey Saltzman’s blog indicates age does not influence why one should join an organization. People join because they seek similarity, regardless of generation gaps. The MOAA Surviving Spouses and Friends Facebook group is an example. The group includes military survivors from different war eras, all joined for a common goal. As a MOAA member, surviving spouses can relate to like members with similar backgrounds and be associated with the nation’s largest and most influential association of military officers. The MOAA Surviving Spouse Virtual Chapter caters to surviving spouses with monthly Zoom meetings and, every other month, a guest presenter. Email to request membership or for more information.

  • Surviving spouses can also join their local geographic chapter of MOAA, connecting them with other MOAA members and their spouses.


[RELATED: More About MOAA Chapters]


MOAA has over 360,000 members, with surviving spouses comprising 13% of MOAA’s total membership. Membership is open to active duty, former, retired, and National Guard and Reserve commissioned and warrant officers of the uniformed services and their surviving spouses. Membership benefits vary depending on the level of membership. Learn more at this link.


Joining MOAA provides surviving spouses with advocacy, community, resources, and practical support, helping them navigate the complexities of life after loss. Speak with a surviving spouse in your network about joining MOAA today, then encourage them to join the MOAA Surviving Spouses Virtual Chapter.


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About the Author

Dr. Vivianne Wersel
Dr. Vivianne Wersel

Dr. Wersel was born and raised in a Marine Corps family. She has a long career in military medicine as an audiologist serving military, veterans, and their families and she has been a stalwart advocate for military families, testifying 20 times before Congress.