* Once again, the Auxiliary Member Advisory Committee (AMAC) had a very busy year. We welcomed three new members — Pat Farnsworth, Virginia Peninsula Chapter; Gail Joyce, Greater Granbury (Texas) Chapter; and Marie Beima, Venice (Fla.) Area Chapter — to the committee in April.
* Also in April, the AMAC participated in national MOAA’s Storming the Hill event, advocating on issues that affect active duty and retired servicemembers, survivors, and families: 1) military pay increases; 2) TRICARE increases; 3) $1 billion reduction in the subsidy to the commissary; 4) concurrent receipt of military retired pay and VA disability compensation; and 5) the Survivor Benefit Plan/Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (SBP/DIC) offset.
* The AMAC’s focus was research and preparation of The Survivor’s Guide. The guide, a supplement to the Personal Affairs Guide, lists steps a surviving spouse will need to take after the death of a loved one and contains contact numbers and space for dates of contact and notes. When the publication is available in the first quarter of 2015, we encourage everyone to obtain a copy and store it with your completed Personal Affairs Guide.
* The repeal of SBP/DIC offset remains a high priority. The AMAC continued grassroots advocacy through its council and chapter auxiliary liaisons and MOAA’s council and chapter system. We encouraged visits to local congressional offices and emails, letters, and phone calls to garner support for H.R. 32 and S. 734, current bills to repeal the SBP/DIC offset. Currently, H.R. 32 has 238 cosponsors and S. 734 has 39. If you use Facebook, we invite you to join our Facebook page, “The Surviving Spouses of MOAA,” another tool we used to advance awareness and seek support to repeal the injustice to surviving military spouses.
* We received seven outstanding nominations for the Auxiliary Liaison Level of Excellence Award. Eleanor Layman from Fort Meade (Md.) Chapter was this year’s awardee.
* Following four years of service and leadership on the AMAC, Patricia Bergquist moved to the MOAA Ambassador program, the first MOAA auxiliary member to join the program. The committee voted Kathy Prout, chair, and Sharon DeVaney and Gail Joyce, vice cochairs, for 2015.