AFRA's Legislative Priorities
AFRA Legislative Priorities
(as of January 2023)
(as of January 2023)
The Armed Forces Retirees Association’s legislative goals are to protect, defend and enhance the earned benefits of all categories of military retirees and their surviving spouses and to promote veterans through proactive advocacy in Congress, the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, and elsewhere.
The Four Pillars
AFRA believes that there are four pillars to base our legislative philosophy upon and guide our advocacy. These pillars are:
- Preserve, defend, and enhance military retiree pay and benefits for all categories of military retirees and their surviving spouses.
- Preserve and enhance all facets of military retiree healthcare, to include TRICARE, TRICARE for Life, Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare and Medicare.
- As past leaders in all branches of the U.S. military, support those now serving currently on active duty, and in the Reserves and Nation Guard, by advocating for comparable civilian sector pay, benefits, healthcare, spouse employment, and quality military housing.
- Advocate for a strong national defense and the funding needed to ensure our military has the necessary equipment, training, leadership, and support to confront all potential challenges in an everchanging global security environment.
AFRA’s ongoing legislative priorities include the following*:
1. Prevent cost increases to TRICARE fees
Prevent any efforts to Increase TRICARE Fees, seek to eliminate fees for Medicare Part B, and expand Nursing Home Eligibility, and Long-Term Care Options (VA & TRICARE). AFRA is always vigilant to prevent any cost increases to TRICARE fees or cuts in benefits/services.
2. Concurrent Receipt Legislation, to include the elimination of any offset of retired pay, or other reduction to a VA or other federal benefit solely because of retired status.
AFRA will work with individual legislators and fellow veterans organizations to revise and introduce legislation to eliminate the current dollar for dollar offset of military retirement pay for those service-connected disabled retirees with VA ratings of 40% and below, and for Chapter 61 retirees, who were medically retired with less than 20 years of service.
3. Preserve and Improve the VA Caregiver Program
AFRA will urge the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to preserve full benefits for existing veterans and families currently eligible for the program, and oppose any cuts or revisions to eligibility criteria.
4. The Servicemember Retirement Improvement Act
Enable members of the Ready Reserve of a reserve component of the Armed Forces to make the maximum allowable contribution ($19,500 in 2020) to their Thrift Savings Plans (TSPs) without limiting the amount such members may contribute to a retirement plan based upon other employment. Also double the maximum allowable contribution amount to the TSPs of federal employees in the Ready Reserve who are not eligible to make contributions to any plan other than the TSP.
5. Amend the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA)
Under this law, former spouses may be entitled to direct payments of a portion of the military member's retirement pay and other benefits. However, these direct payments do not stop upon the remarriage of the former spouse. Any amendment to stop these payments should be retroactive as well as prospective.
6. Veterans Affairs- Enhance, Modernize and Streamline
Authorize VA to receive reimbursements from TRICARE and Medicare. Require VA to accept private medical evidence in lieu of VA examinations. Increase burial allowances to account for inflation and cover the cost of adding a spouse’s information on all headstones. Expand nursing home eligibility and provide no cost/cost-effective long-term care options for retirees and their covered family members (VA & TRICARE).
*AFRA engages on numerous other retiree, veteran and national defense issues and is not limited to those listed above. The Armed Forces Retiree Association (AFRA) is a proud, active member of the National Military & Veterans Alliance (NMVA) (http://nmva.us/), which enables our issues to be amplified to our elected representatives by the support of our NMVA partners. At the same time, AFRA staff will reciprocate and occasionally ask our members to support other targeted veteran issues important to our NMVA partners, as long as they do not conflict with our AFRA mission and principles.
We always need input from our members. Use the "Contact Us" form (http://www.armedforcesretirees.org/contact-us/) to share any legislative action issue recommendations that you may have.