24 March 2004
The Honorable Jon S. Corzine
Dear Senator Corzine:
On behalf of the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA), I extend sincere gratitude for introducing the Military Survivors' Fairness Act of 2004, which would change the effective date for paid-up coverage to October 1, 2004, under the military Survivor Benefit Plan.
The current language affecting the paid-up coverage is of great concern to many of the Association=s members, as well as others from the retired military community. The average age of FRA= s members is 68, equating to more than one-half the membership being affected by the requirement to pay premiums into the SBP program longer than those who enrolled at a later date.
Older retirees who have turned 70 or more years of age and have been enrolled in the program since its inception in 1972 are now paying for the 32nd year. If the current date remains at October 1, 2008, they will have paid into the program for an additional six years, or 72 monthly payments. At $100 monthly, for example, the penalty will equal $7,200. S. 2177 would enable those who have participated in the plan for 30 years and who are at least 70 years old, to stop paying premiums.
Members of your staff may contact Bob Washington, FRA's Director of Legislative Programs, at (703) 683-4257, ext. 110, if the Association can be of any assistance in advancing this important legislation. With appreciation, I am