Welcome to the                

Grand Strand Chapter

of the Military Officers Association of America

Surviving Spouse Information May 2023:

Chapter Membership

The Surviving Spouse Advisory Council strongly encourages all surviving spouses to participate at both the National and Chapter level.

Chapter Membership offers surviving spouses an opportunity to engage at the MOAA grassroots level and experience camaraderie with other military members. While some are content to attend chapter functions and socialize, other surviving spouses choose to continue serving through their chapters and engage in roles such as Surviving Spouse Liaisons, Project Leader, or one of the Chapter Officers.

Quite a few of our Councils and Chapters are successfully led by surviving spouses! We often hear from surviving spouses that participating in the local chapter was one of the best things they did during their survivor transition.

To locate a chapter near you, contact the MOAA Member Service Center at 1-800-234-6622 or use the MOAA Chapter Locator.

Surviving Spouse Liaison 

Surviving Spouse Liaisons work at the Council and Chapter level to ensure fellow survivors remain connected to the military family and participate in local and national programs and advocacy efforts. Learn more about the position at this link, and learn more about the Surviving Spouse Liaison Excellence Award, including the nomination process, at this link.

Surviving Spouse Virtual Chapter

The MOAA Surviving Spouse Virtual Chapter was founded in 2018. Interested in applying? Download membership materials here. You can also join MOAA's Surviving Spouses Facebook group.ONLY SURVIVING SPOUSE PUBLICATIONS

Useful Links:

Legislative Action Guide

Survivor's Planning Guide

Survivor's Checklist: First Steps for Moving On

Your Guide to Military Burials

Provided By:

Military Officers Association of America

201 N Washington St

Alexandria, VA 22314


If you’re the surviving spouse or child survivor of a Veteran who died from a toxic exposure-related condition, you may qualify for VA benefits—including monthly benefits through the VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Program.

Thanks to historic new legislation called the PACT Act, VA has expanded the list of health conditions that VA assumes are service-related. This means that the survivors of Veterans who died from these conditions can now qualify for benefits. These newly-covered conditions include all reproductive cancers, all respiratory cancers, all head cancers, and many other illnesses.

Here’s what this new law could mean for survivors like you:

    • If VA previously denied your claim for DIC benefits for a PACT Act-related condition, you can now apply to collect benefits as far back as the date of your original application. VA will try to contact you and may be able to reevaluate your claim, but you don’t need to wait for VA to contact you before you can re-apply.
    • If VA owed your loved one money or benefits that they never received, you may also be eligible for a one-time accrued benefits payment.

VA encourages all survivors who believe they may be eligible for VA DIC to apply now, or visit VA.gov/PACT to learn more about what this new legislation could mean for you. You can also review eligibility to determine whether you qualify as a surviving spouse or dependent of a Veteran.

When you’re ready to file a claim for VA DIC, you can do so online, by mail, or with help from an accredited representative, such as a Veterans Service Officer (VSO). The application you’ll need depends on your relationship to the deceased Veteran. If you’re the surviving spouse or child of a Veteran, you’ll use VA Form 21P-534EZ. The evidence table and checklist found in the instructions of the 534EZ can help you submit a more complete application package and may allow for a quicker decision. If you’re a surviving parent, you’ll fill out VA Form 21P-535.

Learn more about VA DIC and accrued benefits by visiting www.va.gov/disability/dependency-indemnity-compensation/.


Surviving Spouse Corner: Resources for Surviving Spouses - April 2023:

By: Barbara Smith

As a surviving spouse and a member of MOAA, you have access to a host of people who are there to guide you through any difficulties or questions you might have. MOAA exists to protect military benefits and to offer you resources which cannot be found elsewhere.


MOAA membership is 350,000 strong, of which 16% are surviving spouses. Experts in the Washington, D.C., area advocate for legislation benefiting our community; they are equally vigilant when fighting legislation that would harm our benefits.


You are encouraged to visit MOAA.org, where you can sign up to receive The MOAA Newsletter and choose areas of most interest to you, such health care and earned benefits, finance, and spouse and family.


On the homepage when you see the prompt “I AM A,” scroll down and click on "Surviving Spouse," which will lead you to the Surviving Spouse Page. This site provides information relevant to our community.


MOAA has a Surviving Spouse Advisory Council (SSAC) consisting of eight surviving spouses advocating for issues and concerns of interest to our community. Email SSACouncil@moaa.org with any questions or concerns you may have.


MOAA’s Surviving Spouse Virtual Chapter meets once a month and is open to all MOAA surviving spouses and surviving spouse liaisons. Speakers cover important information regarding issues and concerns one month and the next is an open forum meeting taking questions and hearing concerns of attendees. Learn more about the chapter, including how to join.


Additionally, MOAA’s Surviving Spouses and Friends Facebook group provides information, answers questions, and offers an opportunity to interact with others traveling the same course.  Although not sponsored by MOAA, another Facebook group, DIC Surviving Spouses & Friends, is open to all surviving spouses who receive or who have questions regarding Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. 


[RELATED AT MOAA.ORG: Dependency and Indemnity Compensation]


Check out your local MOAA chapter where you can meet new people and other surviving spouses. Some of our events have speakers on a variety of subjects that might interest or concern you, with some other events providing entertainment. Most chapters have a surviving spouse liaison who is there to assist you with any issues or concerns you might have or just to provide some comfort or a sounding board. 


Surviving Spouse Corner: Survivor Benefit Plan Update - January 2023:

By: Nancy Mullen

JANUARY 30, 2023

Surviving Spouse Corner: Survivor Benefit Plan UpdatePhoto by Elizabeth Fraser/Arlington National Cemetery

The FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act terminated the so-called “widows tax,” allowing eligible military surviving spouses to collect the full Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) in full, with no offset (no reduction) after a three-year phase-in period. We are now entering the third and final phase. What happens now?


Survivor benefits. DIC, SBP, and the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) were increased by the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of 8.7% with the January 2023 payments. Beginning Feb. 1, 2023, eligible surviving spouses will receive their full SBP payment from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) and their full DIC payment from the VA without offset. The SSIA payment will stop, as this payment essentially becomes part of the full SBP payment. If you recall, the SSIA was a temporary solution to the offset, which is no longer necessary due to the aforementioned legislation. Although the SSIA goes away, the total these surviving spouses receive in their name will not be less than what was received the month prior for these specific benefits. There is no change to DIC other than the COLA increase.


[UPDATED MONTHLY: MOAA's Surviving Spouse Corner]


Child Option Annuitants. Beginning Feb. 1, 2023, the annuity will transfer to the servicemember’s surviving spouse provided they are an eligible spouse and have completed the appropriate paperwork for the transfer. If the surviving children are currently receiving the annuity, they have been receiving the full SBP, plus COLA increases, so what they receive in January 2023 will be the amount the eligible surviving spouse will receive. If the surviving children have already aged out of the program, the SBP will be recalculated to incorporate all prior years’ COLAs. You will be able to sign up for MyPay once the annuity transfers to you.  Please note that recent changes in the SBP law do not impact the retiree child option SBP election, only that for the post-9/11 active duty child option election that was primarily made due to the SBP-DIC offset rules.


Eligible surviving spouses should have received a letter from DFAS in late 2022 detailing the background of the change, an example calculation, and a personalized SBP estimate. (Please note these were estimates only.) Find additional details about these updates from DFAS and MOAA. Be sure to follow the MOAA Surviving Spouses and Friends Facebook page as well.

The Grand Strand Chapter, an Affiliate of National MOAA, is a 501(c)3 organization.

Mailing Address:  Grand Strand Chapter MOAA,  P.O. Box 15842,  Surfside Beach, SC. 29587

Follow us on Facebook:  Grand Strand Chapter MOAA or GSMOAA

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