Passed Legislation/Pending Implementation
The following legislation initiatives have been approved and codified in law and are being monitored for implementation:
Space A Travel
This item would restore this lost travel benefit due to the death of the military sponsor and enable surviving spouses who had previously lost the benefit to travel on a Space available basis (Space A) via military aircraft.
Authority/Codification: 2013 NDAA
Why did GSW seek to fix this Inequity: While members are alive, Spouses may travel Space A while accompanied byl their military sponsor. In some circumstances, spouses may also travel alone while the sponsor is alive (emergency medical leave, emergency leave). Due to the global nature of the Armed Forces, many surviving spouses have families in other countries (OCONUS) or in states and territories geographically separated like Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Puerto Rico. Additionally, many surviving spouses reside in other countries. In order to travel at low cost, maintain family connections/support, and conduct official citizen business, and in some cases obtain routine medical care- Gold Star Wives are requesting reinstatement of the Space A travel benefit. This benefit would afford low cost stand by travel, and restore the benefit the spouse had when the military member was alive. (often seen as a family benefit). Such a benefit may also allow spouses to travel stateside to visit graves and attend memorials.
What was stated in the Law: The authority to change the rulings and regulations and create a priority listing was given in this law to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Air Force to make regulation changes to allow this type of travel for military surviving spouses and grey area retirees.
Since the NDAA was passed this has not been done.
What you can do: Write to the Secretary of Defense and the various service secretaries to encourage them to change the travel regulation priorities to include surviving spouses on the Space Available Listings.
This legislation was to provide a dental program for surviving spouses eligible for medical care under the CHAMPVA guidelines.
Authority/Codification: .1963, Sec. 510 ‘‘Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010’’ ChampVA Dental Pilot Program. Signed into law May 5, 2010 by President Obama. Printed in the Federal Register March 1, 2013. http://http://www.va.gov/healthBenefits/vadip/
Why did GSW seek to fix this inequity: Proper Dental care is needed to maintain good health.
What can you do: Participate in the Pilot program if you are eligible. The program has a cost share (as most dental insurances do). Urge your member of Congress to make this a permanent plan.
Post 9/11 for Post 9/11 Surviving Spouses:
This expands the Fry scholarship to eligible active duty surviving spouses (post 9/11)
Authority/Codification: H.R. 3230; Pub.L. 113–146- Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014- This bill was funded under emergency appropriations for FY 2014-2016.
Why did GSW seek to fix this inequity: The post 9/11 education benefit is an earned benefit of service. Its benefits are more generous than the DEA (ch35)- which does not cover the cost of education. While alive the member may choose to transfer the benefit to their spouse. After death, this option was revoked.
What can you do: The program is effective Jan 2015. Let us know if you have any problems or hurdles when attempting to use this benefit after this date. Many issues remain surrounding implementation. Continue working to fix education benefits for those still using Chapter 35.
"We are all grateful to our outstanding veterans service organizations for all the work that they do on behalf of our veterans and their families. So thank you very much to all the veterans service organizations."
~Barrack Obama, President of the United States
(at the signing into Law the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, Aug 7, 2014)