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Legislative


Make sure to sign up for important legislative affairs issues from MOAA national.  See the MOAA webpage  http://www.moaa.org/takeaction/.     Keep informed—your current and future benefits are always under attack.  It is important!!


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MOAA’s Top Goals for 2020

Objective: Ensure any changes to the Military Health System sustain military-medical readiness and beneficiary access to top-quality care.

Overview: Access to quality health care is paramount for servicemembers, retirees, and their families.  MOAA continues to target our advocacy efforts at preserving a strong military medical system and keeping TRICARE effective and affordable for all beneficiaries who earned and rely on these health care benefits.  In recent years servicemembers and retirees have carried the increased burden of paying more for their health care than most people think.  The notion that these beneficiaries pay little-to-nothing for health care provides the fuel to raise TRICARE fees and copays for lawmakers and administration officials to fund military readiness or other programs not directly related to health care or medical readiness. The government should be doing more to stabilize and improve the TRICARE program, and the military health care system (MHS), rather than disproportionately shifting readiness costs to beneficiaries or enacting cuts to medical billets and health and research programs that provide essential operational support.

Actions:

·                  Prevent disproportional TRICARE fee increases

·                  Stand down efforts to cut military medical billets and efforts to dismantle MHS

·                  Stop cuts to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, which provides education to uniformed health professionals, scientists, and leaders

 

Objective: Sustain military pay comparability with the private sector and block erosion of compensation and non-pay quality of life benefits.

Overview: In order to support an all-volunteer force (AVF) essential to a strong national defense, our government must consistently provide our servicemembers with compensation commensurate with their service and sacrifice. Failing to do so has adversely impacted recruiting and retention followed by significant erosion in military pay and allowances. A steady and benchmarked military pay raise, tied to the Employment Cost Index (ECI) as called for in law, is the more stable approach to ensuring our troops are adequately compensated. Our uniformed services are in a war for talent in a diminishing recruiting pool, and maintaining pay, allowances, and improving quality of life programs and benefits are critical to national security.

Actions:

·                  Ensure pay raises match the annual ECI index increase

·                  Protect housing allowances from programmatic changes that penalize military-to-military married couples and those with children

·                  Improve Defense Finance and Accounting Service quality and timeliness of support and reduce existing backlog in services

·                  Protect commissary and exchange benefits and dividends which support military quality of life programs

·                  Approve Flexible Spending Accounts for servicemembers in line with civilian employer programs

 

Objective: Protect family support programs, and ensure military-provided services (housing, PCS, childcare) are affordable, readily available, and meet quality standards.

Overview: Programs and services for military and veteran families are often the first to see cuts to staffing, quality, and availability when government funding becomes tight. These benefits are essential to ensure servicemembers are squared away and able to focus on the mission. Additionally, military spouses play a vital role in a servicemembers decision to stay in the military.  When DoD prioritizes people first, we are able to retain a mission ready AVF.

Actions:

·                  Improve comprehensive housing reform and accountability

·                  Improve accountability of contract movers and claims during PCS moves

·                  Create incentives to increase quality childcare provider accessibility and capacity options

·                  Include military spouses as a target group for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and improve occupational licensure transitions

·                  Preserve Parole in Place and improve paths to citizenship for servicemembers and their families

 

Objective: End financial penalties for military survivors.

Overview: Recognizing the sacrifices survivors have endured, Congress must improve and protect existing survivor benefits issued by DoD and the Veterans Administration (VA) and to eliminate benefit inequities.

Actions:

·                  Repeal Survivor Benefit Plan- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Offset

·                  Increase Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

·                  Eliminate the “Kiddie Tax”

Objective: End concurrent receipt penalties for military retirees.

Overview: Since 2004, Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments (CRDP) authorized the concurrent receipt of retirement pay and disability pay for those who retired with a rating over 50% by the VA. Unfortunately, those who retired with less than a 50% rating from the VA and those who did not reach the 20-year mark and were medically retired under Chapter 61, do not receive the compensation they deserve. Incremental improvements to concurrent receipt that include Chapter 61 Retirees and those retired with a 40% rating is the next step to extending concurrent receipt to military retirees.

Actions:

·                  Approve concurrent receipt for Chapter 61 Retirees

·                  Approve concurrent receipt for service-connected disabled retirees rated 40% and below

 

Objective: Achieve equity of benefits, protections and administrative support for Guard/Reserve members consistent with their active duty counterparts.

Overview: The National Guard and Reserve troops are an essential part of America’s national defense strategy. Over the past two decades they have been used in an operational capacity, constantly serving on domestic and international missions to help protect our country. Despite conducting the same duties as their active duty counterparts, they are not receiving the same credit for their active time. To support our servicemembers in reserve components, changes must be made to reflect the total force mentality.

Actions:

·                  Eliminate Guard/Reserve retirement pay processing delays

·                  Ensure timely health care benefit for Guard/Reserve retirees

·                  Expand Military Lending Act protections and support

·                  Expand GI Bill parity for their service

 

Objective: Ensure timely access to service-earned benefits, and resist proposals to erode foundational services delivered through VA and DoD.

Overview: MOAA believes in promoting national recognition and understanding of military service and how health care and benefits are earned through service in uniform, which are qualitatively different from “entitlement” or “social welfare” programs. While we recognize the fiscal pressures that Congress is under, MOAA considers it our sacred obligation as a leadership organization to do what is right for veterans and their families, and to do all we can to make them as whole as possible as they live out their lives once taking off the uniform. As such, we oppose decisions that oppose foundational services and benefits delivered through VA and DoD, or decisions that erode health care and benefits.

The honor, dignity, and respect of a veteran at the time of his or her burial is an essential component to these benefits, therefore resources should be provided to meet the demand of those seeking burials at cemeteries across the nation.

 

 

Actions:

·                  Enhance suicide prevention programs and access to behavioral health care

·                  Assure appropriate health care and benefits for service-connected exposures

·                  Strengthen and preserve support services for servicewomen and women veterans

·                  Improve wounded warrior and caregiver programs

·                  Implement the VA MISSION Act and identify legislative improvements

·                  Preserve earned military-veteran burial benefits

 

Objective: Support legislation, policies, and programs to enable the seven uniformed services’ ability to recruit, retain, and manage personnel.

Overview: During a 35-day government shutdown in January 2019, servicemembers of the USCG, USPHS, and NOAA worked without pay. In order to sustain all services’ ability to perform missions critical to national security, lapses in appropriations or budget concerns should not affect earned compensation and benefits. Additionally, federal statutes which support the armed forces ability to grow and maintain their force should apply equally across the uniformed services, depending on mission needs.

The morale, welfare, and readiness of servicemembers is negatively impacted by incidents of sexual harassment and assault. In order to foster a culture of trust with servicemembers, there must not only be confidence in the chain of command that it is safe to report a sexual assault or incident of harassment, but additionally the assurance that servicemembers see immediate administrative and legal justice. 

Actions:

·                  Sustain continuous and timely appropriations for whole of government

·                  Ensure the continuity of pay and benefits during lapse in appropriations

·                  Permanently authorize the US. Coast Guard, NOAA Corps, Public Health Service.

Ensure implementation of Sexual harassment and Assault reporting programs through expanded protection of the safe to report program, and strengthen deterrence measures for sexual harassment prevention though Command administrative actions for substantiated sexual harassment investigations



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