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Aug 2018 Issue of the
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"Summer is Here, Most Assuredly"

COL Bob Schlegel, US Army (Ret.), President, 2018, Kingdom of the Sun Chapter, MOAA






It’s been a great spring – we had a great scholarship dinner on May 3rd when seven outstanding JROTC students were awarded $1,000 scholarships. The program went well; chaired, as usual, by our ever – capable Linda Byrd and the scholarship committee. Many members made contributions to the Scholarship Fund which made these possible. Photos elsewhere in this issue will show some of the attendees and awardees.


Arlo and Mary Rose and Sheena and I had a great Florida Council of Chapters (FCOC) 2018 Convention at a Marriott near the causeway to Sanibel Island.  The Lee Coast Chapter did a great job as hosts – there was even a salute by the Lake County Sheriff’s helicopter at the memorial service on Sunday morning. During this service, the many members who passed in the last year, including our own, were remembered and honored. 


We also heard the latest update from MOAA’s CEO, Lt Gen Dana Atkins, USAF Ret. who told us about all that’s going on in Washington DC. Congress is looking to cut funds from anywhere they can, and retiree benefits are still a target with MOAA fighting on our behalf. Gen. Atkins and others from MOAA HQ urged us to keep the cards and letters, especially those in the Military Officer, coming to Washington as “they do make a difference.”


The banquet speaker was Admiral Thad Allen, USCG Ret. who spoke about his work during Hurricane Katrina and the need to promote a culture of personal responsibility in this country. He traveled to the convention on “his own nickel” as did the Schlegels and Janssens. All-in-all, a great convention with many stories shared and much information gained.


Our major activity over the summer is “Stuff the Bus” and please help at one of the five locations whenever you can!  September 6th will be our traditional “Welcome Back” luncheon with our program TBD. Have a great summer and safe travels wherever they may take you.              

NEVER STOP SERVING!


COL Bob Schlegel, President KOS/MOAA



 





See more at: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Take-Action/Top-Issues


Veteran and Caregiver Benefits


Types of Benefits and How to Apply


There are many benefits available to disabled veterans. Use this section to learn about them and how to apply: 


Disability Benefits


What types of VA disability benefits are available?


VA disability compensation and pension are two different monthly tax-free financial benefits paid by the VA. Disability compensation and pension are meant to make up for veterans’ lost wages because of long-lasting injury or disease. A veteran may receive either compensation or pension, not both. The benefits are discussed further below. The benefit is paid by direct deposit to the veteran’s bank account, or to a payee, if the veteran cannot handle his or her own money, also called a fiduciary.


 


Disability compensation or disability pension provides tax-free benefits to replace the income the veteran could have been earning if he or she were not disabled. Additionally, obtaining compensation or pension might mean the veteran now qualifies for VA health care. The VA does not have the capacity to provide health care to every American veteran. VA health care enrollment is based on factors such as POW status, catastrophic disability, service-connected status, and financial need. Many disabled veterans might be eligible for VA health care, TRICARE, or both. See the Veterans Health Administration webpage to apply for VA health care and find out more about the wide range of services offered.


What is a VA disability pension?


The VA might pay disability pensions to veterans of war time (as defined at 38 U.S.C. §101) who are unable to work, even if the disability is not related to military service, and to veterans who are age 65 or older and have a low income. Even though it is called a pension, this benefit has no relation to years of service. It is based on inability to work, with no likely improvement, or age and financial need. Many attorneys are now informing caregivers of this benefit, because of its interaction with medical expenses. Disability pension is a set amount per year for any veteran who receives it, but it is offset by most income the veteran and spouse earn. Retirement pension help from family and friends, and a spouse’s income all count as income. Welfare benefits, Supplemental Security Income, and certain wages earned by the veteran’s children do not count, but other agencies might count VA disability pension as income and reduce other benefits.


If the veteran’s medical expenses are more than five percent of his or her income, the medical expenses are subtracted from total income for the limited purpose of the VA’s determination of financial need in eligibility for VA disability pension. After subtracting medical expenses, many veterans may find this benefit worthwhile, especially if their disabilities are not service-connected. Medical expenses might offset income entirely for veterans who need constant care.


Disability compensation might result in a higher benefit, depending on the severity of disability, and comes with other benefits such as copayment-free health care for the service-connected disability. For this reason, eligibility for both disability compensation and pension should be considered when assisting a veteran with a disability claim.



ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY: CLOSURE IS

PREFERABLE TO RESTRICTING RETIREES


After the completion of two current expansion projects, Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) will reach maximum capacity around 2050.


And what’s being done to address this?


Over the last several months, the Advisory Committee on Arlington National Cemetery (ACANC), an independent federal advisory committee, has been meeting to discuss ways to extend the active life of the cemetery. The committee developed a letter for Congress discussing several options moving forward.


Over 6,800 people took MOAA’s survey.




December 7th has been designated as REMEMBRANCE DAY. Teach

your children and grandchildren the meaning of this day. So, it will

NEVER be forgotten.




The  Distaff Side By Mrs. Betty Hayes

OUR KOS SECRETARY REPORTS …                 

With no programs in July and August, there is not much to report. These three items may be of interest to you.

Did you know that the Military Exchange Service is among the 2018 Top Military Spouse Friendly employees? The exchange employs more than 6,000 military spouses 21% of the work force. According to the ARMY ECHOS newsletter, this is the sixth consecutive year the Exchange system has earned this recognition. I wish we lived closer to an exchange. It was good shopping there.

Have you taken advantage of the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDEVIP)? It is available to retirees and their family members. A member can select from several different options that best meets your needs and those of your family members. Benefits begin on January 1, 2019. You can receive the FEDEVIP email updates at: TRICARE.benefits.com.

One last item of interest to Surviving Spouses. In December, President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which (among other items) made the Special Survivor Indemnity allowance a PERMANENT benefit. It was scheduled to end in 2018. The SSIA payments will increase based on the cost of living adjustments that will start in 2019.

All the above information came from the ARMY ECHOS Newsletter-dated Feb/May 2018

 


MOAA SURVIVING SPOUSES: The following information arrived on May 8th from Michele Costello mvc.uptownart@gmail.com


A new initiative has come from MOAA National Surviving Spouse Advisory Committee. It is the formation of its second virtual chapter. No dues and meetings will be scheduled quarterly. You can participate at your own time and as much as you wish. The only rule is that you must be a member of MOAA National.


If you wish to become a virtual member, you only need to fill out a membership application. You can ask for an application from your local chapter liaison: Betty Hayes at: dhayes68@cfl.rr.com or from Micki Costello whose address is listed above. This is a chance to interact directly with other Surviving Spouses. Members will be provided with an access number after your membership application has been received.



The Kingdom of the Sun Chapter, MOAA (KOS) was chartered as a corporation on 13 April 1976 by the State of Florida. In our charter, we agreed to promote the aims of MOAA, as described below, and in addition included a charge to perform services considered by our Board of Directors to be beneficial to the local community. This means we also agreed to be an independent, nonprofit, politically nonpartisan organization. Thus, our status as a tax-exempt veterans organization precludes us from intervening directly or indirectly in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office. While we may advocate issues, we may not advocate the election or defeat of particular candidates or political parties.

Our members may not use KOS e-mail, mailing lists, or its gatherings to advocate political or religious positions. In addition, your board has established standards over time so that KOS chaplains follow established military standards, requiring that chapter prayers or newsletter articles avoid promoting a specific religion. We have also established publication standards to ensure a non-biased and legal content in our Sunbeams publication.

In terms of our promise to be beneficial to our local community (which I will define as Marion County), KOS does very well. We can be proud of our scholarship, ROTC, Operation Stuff the Bus, Kiwanis Camp, Veterans Park, and many other efforts. We should certainly continue in this vein. But I think of our chapter as mainly an “officer’s club.” I see us as a social and professional group that also carries out community service projects, not the reverse.

While we may tease each other about the relative merits of our particular branch of service (like during our Army/Navy game event), we must treat all branches of service equally. While we may have earned a specific rank or status during our military careers, KOS Members are equal in status, with equal voices in determining how the chapter should be run.

We have been trained in the military to recognize and respect our differences, and to be gentlemen and ladies, if only by “act of Congress”. We can joke about that phrase, but, if we do it right, KOS can be one of the few safe havens from the strife and seriousness of the “outside world” that we have.

MOAA was founded as The Retired Officers Association (TROA) in 1929 to provide assistance and advice to military officers in general. At the beginning of WWII, TROA’s leaders reorganized and expanded the organization, moving to Washington, D.C., in 1944 with a membership of 2,600.

On January, 2003, the organization changed its name to the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA). Now headquartered in Alexandria, VA, its membership is open to active duty, National Guard, Reserve, retired, and former commissioned and warrant officers of the following uniformed services: Army (USA), Marine Corps (USMC), Navy (USN), Air Force (USAF), Coast Guard (USCG), Public Health Service (PHS), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admininistration (NOAA). The Board of Directors may also offer Honorary Membership to officers of allied, uniformed military services.

MOAA’s purpose has grown to include career transition assistance, member products, military benefits counseling, educational assistance to children of military families, and strong involvement in military professionalism activities. It is currently the nation’s largest and most influential association of military officers. MOAA is the leading voice on compensation and benefit matters for all members of the military community. We should all be proud of the respect gained by MOAA in our nation’s capital as a voice for military personnel in general.

MOAA is an independent, nonprofit, politically nonpartisan organization. With about 370,000 members from every branch of service, it is a powerful force speaking for a strong national defense, and represents the interests of military officers at every stage of their career. While MOAA does advocate a strong national defense, it does not, as an association, become involved in matters pertaining to military strategy or weapons systems of the various services. While permitted by law to lobby, its status as a tax-exempt veterans organization precludes it from participating in political activities.