Grand Strand Chapter


     United States Capitol Building - The Observation Deck      Federal:


Our Legislative Affairs officer, Jimmy Jacobs, has provided this "take action" link ( MOAA Legislation ),from the National MOAA web site,  which facilitates contact with your elected representatives regarding important pending legislation.  Click on the preceding link to view the MOAA Legislative website page, which includes pending Federal legislation which could have a negative impact on our service members and veterans and their families. 

Here is the latest from Washington :

Congressmen Wilson, Yarmuth Sponsor the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressmen Joe Wilson (SC-02) and John Yarmuth (KY-03) introduced H.R. 553, the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act, to eliminate an offset placed on surviving spouses or children of service members who pass away during active duty. 

“Brave members of our military risk their lives for our freedoms every day. It is unconscionable to think there is a ‘Widow’s Tax’ on the surviving family members of our fallen heroes. We owe it to them to secure stable benefits in the event of their retirement or death,” Wilson said.For too long, the Survivors Benefit Plan (SBP) deduction by the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefit has been an unfair penalty that cuts earned benefits to military survivors. This issue creates a substantial burden for the surviving spouses and dependent children, and we must act now. 

“The brave men and women who put their lives on the line in defense of our nation deserve to know that their loved ones will be taken care of should tragedy strike. I’m proud to join Congressman Joe Wilson in introducing legislation to end the so-called Widow’s Tax and ensure that the survivors of military servicemembers who give their lives for our country get the benefits they have more than earned. This legislation corrects a terrible wrong and makes clear that we support members of our military not just when we need them, but when their families need us,” said Yarmuth.



Stami Williams (Wilson) (202) 225-1146

Christopher Schuler (Yarmuth) (202) 225-5401


Below is the MOAA National Issue Paper explaining the importance of the SBP Offset:

Issue Paper on SBP-DIC Offset.pdf 




FY19 Defense Authorization Bill Passes Congress in Record Speed

08/01/2018 04:04 PM CDT



No. NR-228-18
Aug. 1, 2018


FY19 Defense Authorization Bill Passes Congress in Record Speed


$717 Billion Budget Critical to Rebuilding, Restoring Readiness

The Department of Defense applauds the passage of the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act at the swiftest pace in 20 years. This year's bill passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support - a vote of 87-10 in the Senate and 359-54 in the House.

The FY19 NDAA authorizes a $717 billion national defense budget that rebuilds our military, increases lethality, strengthens our alliances and partnerships and reforms the way we do business.

"I am grateful for the strong commitment of members on both sides of the aisle to pass this year's NDAA in record time. Together, they have demonstrated the deep and abiding bipartisan support our military enjoys," said Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis. "It is now our duty to implement these policies responsibly and ensure a culture of performance and accountability."

The approved bill:

·         Increases the military's authorized active-duty end strength by 15,600

·         Raises service member pay by 2.6 percent - the highest in nine years

·         Recognizes the importance of modernizing and strengthening the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to more effectively guard against the risk to national security posed by certain types of foreign investment

·         Provides waiver relief to key U.S. partners and allies from certain Russian-related sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries through Sanctions Act

·         Strengthens cyber defenses, prioritizes U.S. Cyber Command readiness and affirms the cyber authorities of the Secretary of Defense

The department looks forward to working with Congress in the same strong bipartisan spirit to fund our nation's defense priorities before the end of the fiscal year.


*The following link shows specific details for South Carolina with comments from Senator Lindsey Graham.





South Carolina Capitol Building | State Capitol Buildings ...         

South Carolina legislation (passed and pending):


2018 Military Base Rask Force Initiatives:




SC Legislative Updates:


SC MOAA Legislative Update as of Jan 2018.pdf   




Jimmy has also provided a link, below, which provides current information on the South Carolina Tax Legislation (to include specifics related to House Bill 3147 (Act No. 272).  This legislation pertains to deductions which reduce the amount of taxes that retired military personnel have to pay to the State of South Carolina for 2016, and in future years.  Please click on this link to learn more. (or go to Benefit Info on this Website...upper right hand corner of Homepage)


Revised SC Tax Laws on Military Retirement Pay (2016).pdf


MOAA Legislative Goals - 2018

Top 10 Legislative Goals for 2018

MOAA's advocacy team is gearing up to protect your health care and retirement benefits, military pay, force levels, wounded warriors, and caregivers.

After an unpredictable 2017, the coming year likely will hold even more surprises on Capitol Hill. Midterm elections are coming in November, and the turnover in Congress could be significant. With partisanship on the rise, the political transition likely will pose interesting challenges.

Our uniformed service members and their families have now endured 16 years of war. Overshadowing the challenges is the constant competition for fewer dollars, as budget caps dominate discussions at every level.

These growing budget pressures prompt efforts to erode service-earned benefits through reduced pay raises, significant changes to housing allowances, and increased health care fees. While MOAA has successfully deflected some of those challenges, we must remain vigilant. Of paramount concern is the proven impact these reductions have on retention and readiness. We're resolved to ensure any reduction to career incentives - essential to the all-volunteer force - is approached with great care.  


Action item: Ensure any TRICARE reform sustains access to top-quality care and avoids disproportional TRICARE fee increases.

Who is affected? All military beneficiaries, including active duty troops and retirees and their family members and others entitled to DoD's health care

The issue: Reforms to the Military Health System must sustain an operationally ready force with a ready medical force. MOAA strongly agrees the military's health care system needs to evolve beyond what it is today into a modern, high-performing, integrated system. However, this interdependent relationship between health care and the readiness-laden infrastructure must not lose sight of either imperative. The health care benefit is a commitment our nation makes to servicemembers and their families, military retirees, and survivors for their years of service. Any reform of TRICARE must take into account the decades of service that constitute a prepaid, in-kind premium worthy of a top-tier health benefit. Over 80 percent of those in Congress have not served in uniform and likely do not understand the toll service has on individuals and military families.

The remedy: Personal stories from constituents have a lot of impact on Capitol Hill. MOAA's members, councils, and chapters are a great source of grassroots support. Remind congressional legislators that any TRICARE reform not only must serve to strengthen the interdependent relationships between health care and readiness but also take into account that veterans prepaid for their health benefits through decades of service and sacrifice.  


Action item: Sustain military pay comparability with the private sector.

Who is affected? All active duty currently serving uniformed personnel and their families

The issue: Budget pressures might tempt Congress to reduce military pay raises, widening the gap between military pay and civilian-sector pay and hurting recruiting and retention.

The remedy: We must work to ensure annual military pay raises approved by Congress remain tied to the Employment Cost Index. 


Action item: Block erosion of compensation and non-pay and quality-of-life benefits.

Who is affected? All currently serving uniformed personnel and their family members

The issue: Future proposals likely will reduce the value of compensation, to include non-pay and quality-of-life benefits such as the Basic Allowance for Housing, Special Incentive Pays, and commissary, exchange, and morale, welfare, and recreation benefits, harming recruiting and retention.

The remedy: MOAA will continue to oppose proposals to reduce the value of compensation or undermine long-term retention.  


Action item: Protect military retirement and COLAs.

Who is affected? All new entrants into military service after Jan. 1, as well as those with less than 12 years of active military service who choose to opt in to the new blended retirement system (BRS)

The issue: Budget constraints might lead to further reductions in the value of the military retirement benefit earned after 20 years of service.

The remedy: Extend the period of government matching funds beyond 26 years to actual retirement. Oppose any efforts to reduce or eliminate the mandatory 12-years-of-service bonus in the BRS. Continue to seek comprehensive implementation of legislation authorizing concurrent receipt of uniformed service retired pay and VA disability compensation, to include a heightened focus on Chapter 61 retirees (those medically retired with less than 20 years of service).  


Action item: Sustain wounded warrior programs and expand caregiver support.

Who is affected? More than 52,000 service members who were wounded in action, 1,000 battle-injured with major limb amputations, 327,000 traumatic brain injuries, and hundreds of thousands of individuals with service-connected conditions acquired since Sept. 11, 2001

The issue: While DoD, the VA, and the military services continue to maintain programs to care and support our most vulnerable service members, MOAA has seen reductions in resources and funding for these programs.

The remedy: MOAA is committed to moving DoD and the VA to establish a more unified and integrated system of care and benefits that will provide comprehensive, wrap-around services to facilitate the health and well-being of the nation's wounded, ill, and injured. The Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Act of 2017, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. James Langevin (D-R.I.), is one step in that direction.  


Action item: End financial penalties to disabled service members.

Who is affected? Veterans with service-connected injuries

The issue: Veterans forced into disability retirements before completing a full career (also known as Chapter 61 retirees) are prohibited from receiving military retired pay concurrently with VA disability compensation.

The remedy: Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) have introduced legislation - S. 66 and H.R. 333, respectively - to expand concurrent receipt for disabled retirees.  


Action item: End financial penalties to survivors.

Who is affected? Military survivors

The issue: Military survivors whose sponsors died of service-connected causes suffer from the widows tax, a dollar-for-dollar offset of DoD's Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) from the VA's Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).

The remedy: Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) introduced legislation - S. 339 and H.R. 846, respectively - to eliminate the SBP-DIC widows tax.  


Action item: Ensure the Guard and Reserve system adequately supports requirements for an operational reserve.

Who is affected? Members of the reserve components and their families

The issue: Members of the Guard and Reserve community have proven their mettle many times over during the past 16 years of armed conflict. Meanwhile, the paradigm for reserve component usage has changed from a strategic reserve to a combat-ready warfighting element incorporated into current and future war planning. As the demands on Guard and Reserve troops have evolved, so has the need for benefits comparable to their active duty counterparts. 

The remedy: MOAA will continue to work with Congress to generate and support legislation strengthening legal protections for Guard and Reserve members in their civilian employment and in consumer contracts.  


The issue: Recruiting and retention of an all-volunteer force require alignment of spouse and family support programs.

Who is affected? Every service member who has or will have a family

The issue: The decision to remain in service often is made around the kitchen table and considers the evolving needs of the entire family, including the employment, educational, and health care needs of non-serving family members; access to child care; and the frequency of relocations.

The remedy: Decrease the military spouse unemployment rate, which remains four to six times higher than the national rate. Increase the synergy between family support and health care systems, along with initiatives to address schools lacking appropriate resources to keep mobile military children on track.   


Action item: Ensure timely access to VA health care and preserve veterans' earned benefits.

Who is affected? There are 21 million veterans in the U.S., with 6.7 million receiving care from the Veterans Health Administration.

The issue: The demand for VA health care and benefits continues to grow, even as the agency has received insufficient funding from Congress and faced frequent proposals for budget cuts.

The remedy: MOAA continues to press for VA health care and benefit system transformation, including investments in technology, financial systems, and infrastructure.   


MOAA Grand Strand Chapter is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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