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USFSPA Reform

The Defense Department sent recommendations for reforming the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) to staff of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. Similar to recommendations sent to Capitol Hill last year, the proposals will be considered as part of the FY 2009 Defense Authorization bill and include:

  • Basing former spouse award amount on member's grade/years of service at the time of divorce (and not retirement),
  • Prohibiting award of retired pay while member is still on active duty,
  • Permitting members to designate multiple SBP beneficiaries.

FRA staff attended the American Retirees Association’s (ARA) annual board meeting to discuss strategy for introducing legislation that will address the inequities of this onerous law. DLP John Davis reiterated FRA’s belief that USFSPA is a poorly-written, one-sided law that Congress needs to review and amend so provisions of this federal law are not ignored by state courts in divorce proceedings. The Association also believes this law should be more balanced in its protection for both the service member and the former spouse. FRA continues to advocate for hearings and legislation addressing these inequities.