AFSA HQ Newsletter – April 26th

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 & OTHER NEWS

113th Congress; 1st Session; Week of 28 Apr- 4 May, 2013

  • Senate: In Recess – contact lawmakers via local offices
  • House: In Recess – contact legislators via local offices
  • Capwiz: open 24/7/365 – communicate with Congress at any time on any subject

AFSA at the Table

On April 25th, AFSA HQ was invited to a “MSO/VSO roundtable” at the Capitol Building in Washington DC.  Hosted by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), more than two dozen Democratic members of the House engaged in conversation with your DC advocates and those of some of our Military Coalition partners.  AFSA Deputy CEO discussed the SBP/DIC offset issue and concerns with proposed changes to military pay & compensation during a one-on-one conversation with Leader Pelosi and Appropriation Committee Ranking Member, Sanford Bishop (D-GA).  AFSA’s message was well received.

Your Loss:  Chained CPI Proposals

The President’s Budget Proposal for fiscal year 2014 includes a plan to reduce benefits to senior citizens, military retirees disabled veterans and survivors.  It goes by the “innocent” and now ever popular name of “Chained CPI.”  Proponents describe the new formula as a simple “technical adjustment” that does a better job of calculating the true cost of living.  In truth, there is nothing innocent about the Chained CPI because it represents a significant benefit cut.  Over the course of a lifetime the average beneficiary stands to lose thousands of dollars.

Estimates show this policy would reduce annual Social Security benefits for the average earner by $658 at age 75, $1,147 at age 85 and $1,622 at age 95.  A 30-year-old disabled Veteran who started receiving VA disability compensation due to a 100 percent service-connect disability would have their benefits reduced by $1,425 at age 45, and by $3,231 at age 65.  Payments to military retirees and those to the surviving spouses and children of these individuals are subject to similar reductions if the use of the Chained CPI is approved.

The bottom line is simple; this is an open attack on the millions of Americans who rely on these programs.  The repeated promise we all continue to hear, “We cannot, we must not, and we will not, balance the budget on the backs of our Veterans,” once again is being forgotten.  Now more than ever we need you to get involved and join our fight to “Stop the Chop” by telling Congress to NOT chop military retired pay and VA disability or Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits.  Send them a message via AFSA CapWiz today.

Force Shaping

Here’s another coming change related to the tightening of DoD’s budgets but not directly related to sequestration; approximately 60 Air Force installations will soon implement a civilian Reduction in Force (RIF) to trim the number of its employees in unfunded positions and help place them in other, funded positions at their respective bases.

Prescribed in the FY 2012 budget, the service was directed to eliminate more than 16,000 unfunded civilian positions.  Through various means the Air Force has successfully reduced its unfunded rolls by more than 15,000 with minimal impact on civilian personnel.  To complete the job, the service now plans to use RIF authorities which provide other options to the worker and the Air Force.

According to Brigadier General Gina Grosso, Air Force Director of Force Management Policy, “The Air Force recognizes and strives to balance the invaluable contributions of our civilian workforce with the fiscal realities under which the Department of Defense and the government as a whole are operating. Usually a reduction in force has negative perception, but the use of RIF procedures will allow many employees to be retained and continue employment with the Air Force.  We want to assure everyone involved with this process that we remain committed to minimizing the impacts during these times of transition.”

“Force shaping” examples like this become more common as the Air Force works to match up the “Total Force” with its available resources and changes in national defense strategy.  Along with it, DoD and Air Force officials need to review the type, size, and number of jobs now being performed by the civilian and military workforce.

Idaho Adopts Interstate Compact

Idaho recently became the 45th state to join the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission.  Their addition to the Commission benefits the children of military service members and recognizes the sacrifices of our military families.

For those who may be unaware, the Interstate Compact ensures the uniform treatment of military children transferring between school districts and states in education-related areas like enrollment, placement, attendance, eligibility and graduation.

Of the 5 states who have yet to sign onto the Compact—two, Montana and New York, have pending legislation that could lead to their eventual participation.  The three remaining states (Oregon, Minnesota and New Hampshire) do not.  AFSA continues to work with interested state policymakers in each of the five remaining states regarding the need for, and the benefits of adopting the Interstate Compact.

Month of the Military Child

April is Month of the Military Child, which recognizes the nation’s 1.8 million military children for their heroism, character, courage, sacrifices and resilience in the face of unique challenges — deployments that take parents away for months at a time; frequent moves that involve changing schools and leaving friends behind; and parents returning home with combat-related injuries.  Service members with children may be interested in this list of resources DoD compiled to help cope with whatever military life might bring their way:

VA Launches New Billing Statement

VA, with input from Veterans, has created a more patient-friendly statement that is easier to understand.  The improved statement has a concise layout and several new features that Veterans wanted.  Visit this VA website to see an example of the new statement and learn more about its features.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Do you have any old & unused prescription medicines laying around that you want to get rid of?  National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday, April 27, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Take-Back Day provides a venue for the safe disposal of prescription drugs that might otherwise be susceptible to misuse, abuse or environmental contamination.  Most military installations are participating in this event and to find a collection site near you, click here.

AFSA POLL STILL OPEN

What’s Important to You?

To get a better sense of how to answer this question, we’ve created an informal Poll on CapWiz so you can tell us what you value the most. We’ve created a list on a number of benefits that AFSA hears is important to you.  While all have value, help us dial in on what is most important by prioritizing your top 10.  Use the tabs on the AFSA web page or just click here.

LEADERSHIP THOUGHTS

“Every good citizen makes his country’s honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defense and is conscious that he gains protection while he gives it.”
— Andrew Jackson, POTUS #7

“The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.”
— Calvin Coolidge, POTUS #30

“We can not, we will not and we must not balance our budget on the back of military veterans. As our commander in chief, I will not allow it.”
— Barack Obama, POTUS #44

AFSA MEMBER BENEFITS

AFSA Insurance – Life & Health

For information and applications on any of these insurance plans please contact Marsh Affinity Group Services toll-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

AFSA Wireless Center

Save on phones and accessories at the AFSA Wireless Center.  Shop and compare from a vast selection of carriers and products.  You’ll get the same great rate from the carrier you choose, plus a better phone at a better price.  Click here or call (866) 416-3060.

Vacation & Travel: AFSA Cruises and Tours

If you’re thinking about a cruise or other vacation tour, check out our AFSA Vacations here. Administered by Brennco Travel, a leader in the travel industry.

Over 20 Other Items of Interest

For a complete and detailed listing of the many benefits to AFSA membership, go to the AFSA webpage and click on the left menu listing “Member Benefits” or just click here.


Click HERE to Advertise with AFSA    |    Click HERE to receive updates via email      |    Click HERE to access AFSA CAPWIZ
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.

Ready to join?

AFSA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Action Center
Follow the issues and write letters to your Congressman!

Take Action!

Find and contact your Senator and Representatives!

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this website and receive notifications of new posts by email.