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July 2019 News from MOAA National

Dateline: 7/6/2019

Senate Approves Blue Water Navy Bill

By: Amanda Dolasinski, Staff writer

 

In a historic vote by unanimous consent on Wednesday, Senate lawmakers approved legislation to grant benefits for Agent Orange exposure to Navy veterans who served in the waters off Vietnam – culminating a decades-long fight for the thousands of veterans who have been denied claims of presumptive exposure. The bill passed without opposition.

“This is a tremendous victory for our nation’s veterans,” said MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret). “After years of waiting, Blue Water Navy veterans and their survivors will finally see the benefits they deserve without fear of those benefits being taken away.”

Last month, the legislation passed the House 410-0.

An estimated 900,000 veterans have been exposed to Agent Orange. This legislation will extend those disability benefits to about 90,000 veterans.

This bipartisan legislation extends benefits to servicemembers who served in the territorial waters off the coast of Vietnam and were exposed to Agent Orange, which is connected to a variety of cancers and other long-term illness.

A January court ruling will require the VA to provide health care to Blue Water Navy veterans, but H.R. 299 would codify that care while also assisting other groups: The bill provides relief to veterans exposed to Agent Orange on the Korean DMZ, and it also expands benefits to the children of veterans who served in Thailand and suffer from spina bifida.

Your Guide to Developing an Estate Plan

By: Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret.),

Senior Director, Career Transition & Member Services

 

Everyone should have at least a basic estate plan drafted by a skilled estate-planning attorney. A coherent estate plan helps to ensure orderly distribution of your assets, protects minor children, plans for potential incapacity, and avoids unnecessary — and costly — probate fees and estate taxes. 

Once in place, the plan should be reviewed periodically (at least every five years) or anytime a major life event occurs, including marriage, divorce, or remarriage; birth or adoption of a child; substantial change in financial assets; moving to a new state or overseas; and retirement.

For MOAA Premium and Life Members, benefits and financial counseling with MOAA staff experts complement the process of reading our publication and understanding the key components of financial planning. Also, the surviving spouses of deceased MOAA Life and Premium members become MOAA members in their own right upon their spouse's passing, making them eligible for all MOAA member benefits, including financial counseling.

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