February 17 2017

In this issue:
CBO Recommends Eliminating Concurrent Receipt
SBP/DIC Offset Repeal Introduced
VA Secretary Nominee Approved
New Dental Plan for Active Duty and Reserves
FRA Participates in Shore Sailor of the Year Week
FRA NHQ Closed for Presidents' Day

 

CBO Recommends Eliminating Concurrent Receipt

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the federal agency within the legislative branch of government that provides budget and economic information to Congress, recently issued a report with options for reducing the federal deficit. One of the options provided by the CBO, is the elimination of concurrent receipt of retirement pay and disability compensation for disabled former service members. This was not a recommendation, but one of many options provided to Congress in the report. There is no move in Congress to implement this CBO option. 

"Concurrent receipt" means to receive both the full amount of the service-earned military retired pay and the full amount of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation. Up until FY 2001, however, any retired service member who received VA disability compensation had that amount of VA compensation deducted from their military retired pay. This is referred to as an "offset." FRA supports payment of full military retired pay and veterans' disability compensation for all disabled retirees. 

Since 2001 FRA has made progress in achieving its goal of comprehensive concurrent receipt reform. There are two separate Department of Defense programs for disability compensation: Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) and Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP). All those who receive CRSC receive concurrent receipt. Military retirees receiving CRDP with 20 or more years of service, and a 50 percent or higher service-connected disability rating, have concurrent receipt. CRDP beneficiaries with less than 50 percent disability rating and also those medically retired with less than 20 years of service (Chapter 61), are not eligible for concurrent receipt. Legislation has been introduced to provide comprehensive concurrent receipt reform (H.R. 333 & S. 66).  Members are urged to use  the FRA Action Center to ask their legislators to support these legislative proposals. 

SBP/DIC Offset Repeal Introduced

Senator Nelson (Fla.) introduced legislation (S. 339) and Congressman Joe Wilson (S.C.) introduced identical legislation in the house (H.R. 846) that repeals the SBP/DIC Offset for survivors, sometimes referred to as the "Military Widows Tax."

Survivor Benefit Program (SBP) and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payments are paid for different reasons. SBP is purchased by the retiree and is intended to provide a portion of retired pay to the survivor. DIC is a special indemnity compensation paid to the survivor when a member's service causes his or her premature death. In such cases, the VA indemnity compensation should be added to the SBP the retiree paid for, not simply substituted. It should be noted as a matter of equity, that surviving spouses of federal civilian retirees who are disabled veterans and die of military-service-connected causes can receive DIC without losing any of their federal civilian SBP benefits.

Members are urged to use the FRA Action Center to ask their legislators to support this important legislation. 

VA Secretary Nominee Approved

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved (100-0) the nomination of Dr. David J. Shulkin as Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA). In a rare demonstration of bi-partisanship he was approved unanimously by the Senate. Many other cabinet nominees have had their nominations bogged down and delayed by bitter partisan bickering. The VA is the second largest federal agency that has been plagued by scandal and mismanagement. Dr. Shulkin, a holdover from the Obama administration, served as the VA Under Secretary for Health since 2015. He is a physician, a former health care executive, and is the first VA Secretary to never have served in the military, although his father was an Army psychiatrist. FRA is looking forward to working with the new VA Secretary on issues of mutual concern. 

New Dental Plan for Active Duty and Reserves

The TRICARE dental contract for active-duty family members, Reserve Component members and their families will switch from MetLife to United Concordia on May 1, 2017.  Military retirees and their families are covered by a separate contract with Delta Dental, which is not affected. Dental benefits are staying the same or expanding, while children will be automatically enrolled in the system as beneficiaries starting at one year old rather than four years old. Among the expansions is an increase to the annual maximum benefit from $1,300 to $1,500 and a change that makes sealants free instead of requiring a 20 percent co-pay.

FRA Participates in Shore Sailor of the Year Week

FRA was very active with the Shore Sailors of the Year event held this past week in Washington DC. NED Thomas J. Snee spearheaded the week-long event on Monday with an office visit and FRA brief given to FLTCM Russell Smith. An "ice breaker" presentation titled, What is the FRA, was given Wednesday at the Residence Inn in Arlington, Va., followed by a tour of the U.S. Capitol and lunch. NED Snee closed the week, participating in the reception, lunch and awards ceremony at the Navy Memorial, where the final announcement was made Thursday. Snee closed his presentation with the words, "Pay it forward and seek out all sailors to optimize their fullest potential." 

The finalists were:  
LS1 Amber Wilson, Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill. 
PS1 Michael Rangel, Chief of Naval Personnel, Washington, DC
IC1 Daniel Cordel, Navy Recruiting Command, Millington, Tenn.
ABH1 Sylvester Williams, Detailer Naval Personnel Command, Millington, Tenn.

Fleet and Force Master Chiefs asked each sailor a number of questions about the Navy, leadership practices and their individual community involvement. The overall Shore Sailor of the Year winner was, Petty Officer Wilson who will move onto the Navy Sailor of the Year held May 15 to 19, 2017.  

FRA was the keystone initiator 44 years ago and continues to support the Sailor of the Year Program, which highlights sustained superior demonstrations in military and personal achievements.

FRA NHQ Closed for Presidents' Day

The FRA NHQ office will be closed on Monday, February 20, for the Presidents' Day holiday. We will reopen at 0800 on Tuesday, February 21.


‚Äč

 NewsBytes is FRA's weekly legislative update. If you would like to subscribe, and receive publication via e-mail please contact us at: newsbytes@fra.org with "Subscribe" in the subject line and your name and address in the body. If you are a member of FRA or LA FRA, please include your member number as well. Membership not required but encouraged.

If you would like to hear a recorded version of NewsBytes, dial 1-800-FRA-1924 (ext. 112)

Follow FRA on Twitter (https://twitter.com/FRAHQ); Follow FRA on Instagram (www.instagram.com/fra_hq) and "like" FRA on Facebook (use the shortcut of www.fra.org/fb)

 

 

 

 


Connect with Us

 Twitter