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Takeaways from the MOAA Annual Meeting

Council President COL Bob Norton, USA (Ret), provided some takeaways from the excellent Surviving Spouse / Spouse symposiumheld on 28 Oct 2022 in Kansas City.  You may already know some of this, of course.

  • 45K of our 350K national membership are surviving spouses, 13% of the total.
  • Natl Board Member and Surviving Spouse Gayle Joyce noted:

            -- Surviving spouse members are full members of MOAA and may assume any position in a Chapter or Council.  (the term "Auxiliary"  or "Aux" is obsolete and should never be used)  

            --  Membership.  Spouses of deceased members may gain membership in one of three ways:

                  1) If the Member was a Life Member of MOAA, the Surviving Spouse becomes a Life Member upon the death of his / her spouse. (Free for life)

                  2) If the Member was a Basic or Prime member, the Spouse may choose to gain membership in the status of his / her deceased spouse.  Going forward, the spouse may upgrade membership status.   

                  3) If the deceased officer was eligible for MOAA membership, the Surviving Spouse may apply for membership in her / his own right.

  •    Surviving Spouse Liaison.  All Chapters are encouraged to have a Surviving Spouse liaison.  The position may be held by any Chapter member.
  •    Annual Presentation. Ms. Joyce recommends all Chapters conduct an annual presentation on Surviving Spouse issues.
  •    Virtual Chapter.  The MOAA Surviving Spouse / Spouse Virtual Chapter meets the third Tuesday of each month.
  •    Everplans - Estate Planning.  Ms. Joyce mentioned a new online program to organize and store vital information. ('Google "Everplans"):  

Ms. Joyce concluded by saying MOAA members and leaders should "encourage, educate and engage" fellow members on Surviving Spouse / Spouse issues.


LtCol Mark Belinsky of MOAA's Govt Relations shop gave a legislative update on Surviving Spouse-related issues.  Here are two of them:

  • Retired Survivors Comfort Act.  At death, the government recoups a portion of the final month's pay, depending on the date of death.  Comes as a big shock at a difficult time.  The bill would permit the surviving spouse to delay the payback and pay it over a period of time.
  • DIC payment.  The bill would raise DIC payment to 55% of the underlying VA-rated benefit level, the same rate already paid to Surviving Spouses of Federal annuitants.

Dept. of Veterans Affairs pam: Planning Your Legacy, esp. pp. 8-18 re applying for VA benefits.  Questions: contact, RADM, USN-ret.


VA Palliative / Hospice Care.  All VA Medical Centers offer such care or have it contracted out to local providers.


VA Caregiver Benefit.  Veterans rated 70% or higher and in need of VA "Aid and Attendance" caregiver support may apply using a 'simple' form.


PACT Act.  The law adds 20+ new presumptive conditions that qualify for VA disability benefits.  Under new law, if a veteran died of a service-connected disability and had not applied for VA-rated disability, the Surviving Spouse may apply for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).  See:  Questions: email


DoD ID Cards.  If there's an expiration date on a Spouse's ID card, it must be replaced by 2026. 

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Maryland Council of Chapters - MOAA

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