AFRA's Legislative Priorities

 
Armed Forces Retirees Association
116th Congressional Session
Legislative Priorities
 
The Armed Forces Retirees Association’s mission is to protect and defend the earned benefits of military retirees and their surviving spouses through active advocacy on Capitol Hill and elsewhere.  AFRA’s legislative priorities for the  116th session of Congress include the following*:
 
Prevent Any Efforts to Increase TRICARE Fees (House and Senate Armed Services Committees)
AFRA's first advocacy actions were successful efforts to prevent Senate recommendations that would have increased TRICARE fees for retirees.  AFRA will remain vigilant in preventing any such attempts in the 116th Congress.
 
Fully Fund the VA MISSION Act (Office of Management and Budget)
AFRA will continue its work to get the Administration and Office of Management and Budget to fully fund the MISSION Act, paying particular attention to the Community Care and Caregiver expansion provisions, without using “pay-fors” or “offsets” that would negatively affect other veteran programs.
 
Draft and Introduce New Concurrent Receipt Legislation (Representative Sanford Bishop)
AFRA will work with Rep. Bishop and his staff to revise and introduce legislation that was written at AFRA's urging at the end of the 2018.  This new legislation seeks to begin the elimination of the offset, starting with Chapter 61 retirees. 
 
Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act (Representative Sanford Bishop)
Eliminates the current dollar for dollar offset of 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.
 
Improving the VA Caregiver Program (Department of Veterans Affairs)
AFRA will urge the DVA to establish a permanent Caregiver designation for our most catastrophically disabled veterans and establish, and enforce, national eligibility standards for the Caregiver program, that apply to both initial eligibility determinations and to the annual eligibility reevaluations.
 
Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act (Senate Veterans Affairs Committee)
This bill was passed in the House during the 115th Congress but the Senate refused to pass it.  AFRA will continue its efforts in the 116th Congress to ensure our "Blue Water" retirees are finally recognized and treated by the VA for Agent Orange related illnesses.  
 
The Servicemember Retirement Improvement Act (Senator Cornyn)
Will fix an oversight that occurred when the new retirement system went into effect. This oversight prevents reserve component members who have civilian careers that offer retirement matching programs, such as 401Ks, from using the TSP matching aspect of their military retirement benefit.
 
Health Equity and Access for Returning Troops and Servicemembers (HEARTS) Act (Senator Ernst)
This bill will end a current inequity which forces service members who are medically retired under Chapter 61 and who, due the severity of their injuries, are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance to purchase and maintain Medicare Part B.
 
Amending 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. 
 
Retired Pay Restoration Act (Representative Gus Bilirakis)
Eliminates the "offset" for those service-connected disabled retirees with VA ratings of 40% or less.
Retired Pay Restoration Act (Senator Dean Heller)
Senate companion bill for H.R. 303 that will eliminate the "offset" for those service-connected disabled retirees with VA ratings of 40% or less.
 
The Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act (Representative Joe Wilson)
Allows military retiree survivors to receive full Survivor Benefit Plan annuities AND full Disability and Indemnification Compensation payments which they are entitled to due to the service-connected nature of their military retiree spouse's death.
 
Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act (Representatives Crist)
Establishes a point of contact at the Department of Justice to provide federal technical assistance to existing veteran treatment courts and areas trying to start them and tasks the DoJ to work with the VA to establish a program to provide grants, training, and technical assistance to help state, local, and tribal governments in their development.
 
*AFRA will engage on numerous other retiree issues throughout the current congressional session and is not limited to those listed above.  Member input is encouraged.  Simply use the "contact us" form to share any legislative action issue recommendations that you may have.