2018-2019 National Legislative Ambassador
We’ve Only Just Begun to Fight!
Where has the time gone? It has been an incredible year for the VFW Auxiliary Legislative Program. Member engagement with legislators is way up! You have reached out into our communities to get them involved and to let them know what our goals are and why! Of equal importance, and because “I believed…you could do it,” you have educated many thousands of students using elements of the Legislative Program, giving us all the hope of a brighter future! Our nation’s children are our future soldiers, spouses, caretakers and members! We can’t leave them behind as we Educate, Prepare and Act, on behalf of our veterans!
It was recently announced that Bob Wallace, Assistant Adjutant General/Executive Director of the VFW Washington, D.C. office, would be retiring, effective August 1, 2019, after an incredible 23-year career with the VFW. Bob has served our organization for many years with a strong dedication to our veterans and their welfare. I wish Bob well and want him to know he will be sorely missed and will be leaving the VFW with big boots to fill.
Fortunately, we have a wonderful veteran who is up to the task. VFW Adjutant General Kevin Jones recently announced his intent to appoint B.J. Lawrence as the next Assistant Adjutant General/Executive Director of the VFW Washington, D.C. office! B.J. will be wrapping up his year as National Commander-in-Chief of the VFW and transitioning to his new role as our Washington Office Executive Director. Welcome, B.J.!
Educate yourselves on the following and contact your legislators to show your support!
End the Widow’s Tax: More than 65,000 surviving military spouses and dependents are unjustly penalized because their loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Similar to life insurance, the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) is purchased through DOD by military retirees to ensure their surviving loved ones can maintain a modest standard of living. When service members or veterans die from injuries or illnesses related to their military service, survivors are eligible for VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). Despite the two payments being paid for two different reasons from two different federal departments, all monthly SBP retirement payments are reduced by $1,319 –– the current payout for DIC benefits.
For many survivors, this offset completely eliminates their SBP payments and threatens their financial security. The recent tax law makes this situation worse by doubling the tax on dependents to whom parents transferred SBP benefits to avoid having to forfeit DIC benefits.
The VFW needs you to take action now!
Contact your members of Congress and urge them to end the injustice now! The message these aptly termed “Widow’s Tax” and “Kiddie Tax” sends to service members, veterans, and their families is that our government salutes their service while in uniform, but they cost too much if they die on active duty or from service-connected conditions.
In closing, I would like to thank all of the wonderful Chairmen across this great nation who worked hard to make the Legislative Program such a huge success this year. They showed great leadership, but it was and always will be our grassroots membership that gets the job done. Look at our team as a military unit. We’ve volunteered for service, the Chair is the Officer in charge, but it is the “boots on the ground” members that go into battle! I can not tell you enough how proud I am of all of you and the exemplary work you have preformed this past year. Take this year and use it as a springboard to dive into even greater advocacy efforts next year. I can hardly wait to see what you will do next! My love and admiration go out to each of you. Now, get out there and FLY!