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July 2020 News from MOAA National

Dateline: 7/2/2020

Legislation Moving to Support Reserve Component Credit for COVID-19 Response

By: Cory Titus

A bipartisan bill is gaining support to address the orders issued for the National Guard members activated to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus.  The National Guard COVID-19 Earned Benefits Guarantee Act, H.R. 6957, introduced by Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), directs DoD to treat any time served as part of the COVID-19 response by activated members of the National Guard as no less than 90 days.The 90-day marker is significant because it allows those who responded to the virus to receive credit for early retirement and Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

Notably, the bill specifies the National Guard, not the reserve component. The lack of coverage for the reserves is something MOAA addressed directly with Panetta’s office, and The Military Coalition conveyed in a letter calling on the bill to be included in their letter of support to the House Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees.

As the fight continues against COVID-19, it is becoming apparent we will see ebbs and flows at the state level. As states begin to reopen, they run the risk of mass outbreaks that could require a rapid response to contain the virus. A single event like a choir practice in Washington led to 52 people infected over the course of a couple hours. If events like this are not caught quickly, the results could prolong necessary preventative measures.

The reserve component will continue to be vital to any response. With the potential for servicemembers to go on and off federal orders several times, they should not run the risk of missing education benefits and retirement credit when responding repeatedly to the national fight against the virus.  A legislative fix is necessary because of the enduring nature of this threat and the need to support the troops on the front lines. Reach out to your representative now seeking their support for this bill, and request they expand this coverage for the entire reserve component.


What You Should Know About the Veterans Benefits Banking Program                                     By: Shane Ostrom

The VA and the Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA) have partnered to create the Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP), which may help veterans with credit or legal issues – and limited access to banking institutions – find financial help.

Each financial firm participating in this program is committed to assisting veterans and their families find banking solutions that fit their needs and qualifications.  Veterans face increasing challenges from a variety of predatory financial companies. For example, scams, frauds, and corrupt busines practices from sketchy financial firms often target military members and veterans. It is critical that veterans receiving VA compensation have access to the regulated, safe, and reliable financial services provided by the firms in this program.

The financial firms in this program offer support, education, and banking solutions leading to greater financial independence, knowledge, and recovery in difficult times. In addition, the enhanced services provided by this program will assist VA beneficiaries in managing their veteran compensation to reduce the number of fraud cases reported to the VA.

All veterans who receive compensation from the VA are eligible to participate with VBBP financial institutions, but the program is designed especially for those who receive financial benefits but do not have a current financial firm to help them manage their money, such as veterans who receive pre-paid cards or checks in the mail. It provides these veterans with an opportunity to open a bank account with a partner firm and receive funds electronically.

Veterans must work with a financial institution to determine their eligibility. They can learn more about which firm fits their needs and how to apply for an account (all firms have an application process) at www.veteransbenefitsbanking.org. You can also see a list of participating firms if you prefer to visit in person.

Connect During COVID-19 Using the MOAA UPS Benefit                                                               By: Amber Monks

If you are looking for a new way to connect with friends and family from a distance, look no further than UPS – and the discounted shipping rates available to MOAA PREMIUM and LIFE members.

The discount, one of several exclusive member deals, is available through MOAA’s Perks Marketplace.

"We had no difficulty linking our existing UPS account with the MOAA discount,” MOAA Board Member Rear Adm. Clare Helminiak said. “We were able to ship eight boxes from Texas to Nebraska for just over $100 with the MOAA discount. The cost at the U.S. Postal Service would have been three times that, given that some of the boxes were large. We will definitely use the MOAA discount with UPS frequently."

Perks Marketplace acts as a separate site and purchase point, offering deals for rental cars, theme parks, hotels, movie theaters, and more. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the benefit, and instructions on how to access it:

Q. What is the UPS shipping benefit for MOAA members?

A. The UPS benefit will allow MOAA PREMIUM and LIFE Members to receive a flat 50% off express shipping and a flat 30% off for ground shipping. These are just two examples of nearly a dozen UPS discounts.

Q. How do I access the benefit?

A. MOAA members will have to first sign into the MOAA website, then create a log in to Perks Marketplace (get details here), click the UPS logo, then create an account on the UPS website.

Q. Once I’m on the UPS website, what do I do?

A. Once set up, members may use the “Quick Start” menu to begin taking action to ship a package. In order to learn how to navigate to the site, please take a moment to watch our step-by-step video on the process.

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