AFSA HQ Newsletter – April 5th

This newsletter is produced and released on a weekly basis by AFSA HQ. To read the full newsletter, as well as archived entries, visit the AFSA On Call Newsletter section of www.hqafsa.org.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES AND NEWS 

Congress in Recess

Last week the House and Senate agreed to a two-week adjournment for Easter, its first “actual recess” in more than a year.  During recent breaks, lawmakers conducted pro-forma sessions–brief meetings lasting only a few minutes in duration where only a handful of lawmakers were present and no legislative business was conducted.  Both chambers are scheduled to resume normal legislative activity on April 16. 

The annual spring recess is a good time to meet with your elected representatives because many of them will be working out of their State and local district offices.  Visit the AFSA CapWiz Site for suggestions about arranging these face-to-face visits.   Members of Congress will also be holding Town Hall meetings and appearing at other events during this timeframe. These venues provide additional opportunities for readers to convey their thoughts and concerns on key issues.

Value of a Hill Presence

The AFSA Headquarters staff routinely meets with elected officials on Capitol Hill, sharing member concerns and urging them to support legislation that benefits Air Force enlisted members and their families.  These visits are extremely important and can be especially effective when coupled with grassroots contact from the field.   Case in point; during a recent visit with Representative Scott Rigell (R-VA), we raised a number of concerns affecting military members inVirginia’s second district.  Shortly thereafter, Representative Rigell signed on to a half-dozen bills addressing key issues like concurrent receipt, veterans employment, and preservation of VA healthcare funding. 

HOUSE NDAA for FY 2013

House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) recently introduced the “By Request” version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.  Right now, H.R. 4310 is a “placeholder” but does include some of the legislative proposals offered by DoD for consideration by Congress.  Various HASC subcommittees are expected to begin marking up their respective portions of the bill later this month, and the full Committee plans to tackle the bill sometime in May.  Eventually the text of H.R. 4310 will be replaced with the final recommendations of the HASC (Chairman’s Mark). 

Protection of Child Custody Arrangements for Servicemembers

Our March 22 issue of On Call identified AFSA-endorsed legislation introduced by Representative Mike Turner (R-OH) that provides protection of child custody arrangements for parents who are members of the Armed Forces.   H.R. 4201 the Servicemember Family Protection Act would amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to provide for the protection of child custody arrangements for parents who are deployed in support of a contingency operation.  If a motion for change of custody of a child of a service member is filed while they are deployed, no court may modify or amend a previous child custody judgment, except if there is clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interest of the child.  The bill also prohibits any court from considering a member’s past absence due to deployment, or possible future deployment, in support of a contingency operation in determining child custody disputes. 

Last Thursday, Turner and the other 61 members of the House Armed Services Committee sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urging him to support legislation that prohibits courts from taking into account a service member’s possible deployments when deciding child custody disputes.  You can view that letter here

VETERANS NEWS 

National Public Health Week

Celebrated April 2-8, VA is observing National Public Health Week as a way to promote healthy habits and safe practices among Veterans and staff.  With more than eight million Veterans enrolled in its health care system and about 300,000 employees, a healthier VA population contributes to a healthierAmerica.  This year’s theme is “A Healthier America Begins Today: Join the Movement!”  VA encourages all Veterans and staff to join the movement by making good choices. Whether you quit smoking, eat healthier meals, or visit your doctor for a routine health screening, you are doing your part for a healthierAmerica.  “VA promotes these events because they raise awareness and encourage people to take action to improve their individual health, which ultimately improves the health of the whole community—Veterans, Veteran’s families, employees, and employee’s families,” says Dr. Victoria J. Davey, Chief Officer of VA Public Health.  “The two most important actions people can take are to stop smoking and to keep their vaccinations current.”  National Public Health Week is an annual event created by Presidential proclamation in 1995 to highlight the importance of public health. 

DFAS Facebook Town Hall Meeting

DFAS plans to host its first Facebook town hall meeting on May 8from 3 to 5 pm Eastern time.  During this online event, retired pay experts will answer retirement-related questions in real time.  Current military retirees and military members preparing for retirement are encouraged to participate.  Visit their Facebook Page for more information. 

HEALTHCARE 

TRIAP Ends

An online behavioral health counseling service known as the TRICARE Assistance Program (TRIAP) ended March 31.  DoD officials cited “lack of use” as the principal reason behind the decision to end the program.  Military OneSource offers a broad range of similar services.  They can also be reached via phone at (800) 342-9657. 

College & TRICARE

Is your college student moving back home for the summer once they finish their spring semester?  Find out if the change in location will affect their access to TRICARE here

Need TRICARE Contact Information On-the-go? 

Download the TRICARE Contacts Wallet Card and keep it with you when you travel. 

AFSA MEMBER BENEFITS 

ON-LINE SHOPPING MALL

Shop on-line with special AFSA member discounts from over 600 of the best in class retailers.  Your purchases will also earn AFSA cash back rebates!  Shop online HERE

AFSA Insurance – Life & Health

For information and applications on any of these insurance plans please contact Marsh Affinity Group Servicestoll-free at (800) 882-5541, or online HERE.  Please note; coverage may vary or not be issued in all States. 

  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance Plan
  • Cancer Expense Insurance
  • Group Dental Insurance
  • Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Short-Term Recovery Insurance Plan
  • TRICARE Supplement Insurance
  • Life Line Health Screenings 

THINKING AFSA

AFSA congratulates the enlisted men and women of AFMC fortheir selection of General Donald J. Hoffman,Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, to receive the Order of the Sword.”   General Hoffman was inducted into the Order during a March 30 ceremony at theNationalMuseumof the United States Air Force. 

WORTH REPEATING 

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart”

—Elizabeth Andrew. Lombardi 

We want to hear your thoughts and opinions.  What’s your top 10 list for AFSA?  

Go ahead send it.  Don’t be bashful.   Click HERE to send


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This newsletter is produced and released on a weekly basis by AFSA HQ. To read the full newsletter, as well as archived entries, visit the AFSA On Call Newsletter section of www.hqafsa.org.

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