Questions not answered below may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is Gold Star Wives of America?
Gold Star Wives is a Congressionally Chartered non-profit service organization. The charter was granted because GSW is unique in that it is the only service organization capable of providing services to the active duty and service-connected military surviving spouses. To qualify for membership your spouse must have died while serving on active duty in the Armed Forces or from their service connected disability as a result of that service.
What is the cost of Annual Membership Dues? What are the terms?
Membership dues are $35 per year. The dues year or membership term begins January 1 and ends December 31.
Who is eligible for membership?
Membership is extended to anyone whose spouse died while serving on active duty, or of a service-connected cause. Remarriage does not bar membership.
When are the National Newsletters mailed?
There are 4 newsletters a year, mailed the first week of December, March, June, and September. They are mailed at non-profit bulk rates, which means that it could take up to 3 weeks to be delivered. Members may select to have their newsletters emailed as a cost savings to GSW.
How do I contact Veterans Affairs to answer my questions?
You may dial 1-800-827-1000 and this will automatically connect you to your VA Regional Office.
How do I obtain a WWII-type service flag?
A banner with one gold star is available at $6.95 + tax (in some states) + shipping from American Legion Emblem Sales, 1-888-453-4466, M-F 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. eastern time.
How do I reach CHAMPVA, TRICARE, or Meds by Mail to have questions answered?
Champva is available for survivors of service connected disability, or for a spouse who originally qualified for Tricare (Champus) has remarried and then been reinstated. (You cannot go back to Tricare)
ChampvVA is also available for those who have remarried and were at least age 55 when they remarried.
ChampVA - questions: 1-800-733-8387; information 1-888-289-2411; or EMAIL - email@example.com
ChampVA Meds by Mail - questions: 1-888-385-0235
Tricare is available for active duty and retired spouses who have never remarried. www.tricare.mil
Tricare - questions: 1-800-538-9552
TFL Meds by Mail (required as of FEB 2014 for TFL) http://www.tricare.mil/pharmacy.aspx
Is my DIC payment affected when I receive Social Security?
DIC stands for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, which is awarded to spouses of active duty, or service connected surviving spouses. There is NO SOCIAL SECURITY OFFSET for DIC. This offset was eliminated in 2004.
What is SBP?
SBP is Survivor Benefit Plan. This usually only affects retirees and is a plan paid into by the retiree so her/his spouse will have benefits after the retiree dies. If the death of the retiree is additionally caused by a service connection the surviving spouse would also be entitled to Dependent Indemnity Compensation (DIC). The SBP is offset by the amount of DIC received (Currently $1215 a month). DIC is non-taxable and SBP and SSIA are.
What does COLA mean?
COLA = Cost of Living Adjustment. For 2014 it will be a 1.5% increase on DIC and allowances paid by the VA. The SBP Cola will be 1%. The Special Survivor Indemnity allowance is increased by a yearly schedule and not affected by COLA, this allowance is currently set to expire in 2016.
Annual and Lifetime Membership cards are mailed at the first of every month, with the exception of holidays. Please allow 5-7 business days for delivery.
For example, if you pay for your dues in December, your membership card (with your new membership expiration date) will be mailed during the first week of January, etc. If you paid for dues on February 6th, your membership card will be printed and mailed in March. This applies to a one-time lifetime dues payment as well.
Your membership card is not mailed the same or next day you make your dues payment.
The membership cards are mailed first class and delivered via the United States Postal Service. It is possible membership cards are unfortunately and inadvertently damaged or lost in transit.
If your annual or lifetime membership card is damaged or you did not receive it in a timely manner, you may request a replacement at no charge. Please email or call the GSW National Membership Office to request another card. The email address for the GSW National Membership Office is firstname.lastname@example.org and the phone number is 1-888-751-6350. When you call or send an email to the office, please be sure to provide your name and current mailing address.
How Do I Obtain a Military I.D. Card so I can go to the Commissary?
Military I.D. Cards are issued by the Department of Defense. Please visit dmdc.osd.mil/rsl and click on their Rapids Site Locator, chose by "By Location" and enter your state, with no city or zip code.