March 29, 2022 Share this on: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
  Breaking News  

VA's Caregiver Review Would've Booted 90% Of Young Vets From Program




Veterans Affairs officials were on pace to boot 90% of post-9/11 veterans receiving caregiver benefits as part of an ongoing overhaul of the support program before announcing a moratorium on dismissals this week, according to new data released by the department.

To read more, please click here.



What Veterans And Service Members Need To Know About Military Discharge Upgrades



The various discharge review boards provide a mechanism to restore your access to those veterans' benefits through a discharge upgrade. While the name of the board seems self-explanatory and the process appears straightforward, it can be very complicated for some.  The discharge review boards exist for all branches of the military and have the power to correct inequities or improprieties in military service records. 

To read more, please click here.


Military Spouse Unemployment is High. AFSA Is Pushing For A Tax Break To Help! 




AFSA has joined Senators Tim Kaine and John Boozman to advance the Military Spouse Hiring Act. This legislation is supported by AFSA and would expand the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to businesses who hire military spouses. Military spouses consistently experience unemployment rates substantially higher than the national rate, and two thirds of employed active duty military spouses report underemployment

To read more, please click here.

  AFSA on the Hill  

AFSA Attends Press Conference on the Hill Spotlighting Support for Landmark Toxic Exposure Legislation, Honoring our PACT Act

Earlier today, AFSA's Policy Advisor, Matthew Schwartzman, and Legislative Communications & Administrative Assistant, Vanessa Lee, joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Raul Ruiz, Veterans Advocate John Stewart, and representatives from allying MSOs/VSOs to spotlight support for the Honoring Our Promise To Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2021.

To watch advocacy in action from the Hill, please watch the following video:

Your Military and Government Relations Team was on Capitol Hill today for a press conference on the Honoring our PACT Act.

For those who are unfamiliar, this legislation will:

  • Provide Priority Group 6 health care for over 3.5 million toxic-exposed veterans
  • Provide extension of combat eligibility for health care from 5 to 10 years with a one-year open enrollment period for those veterans who missed their window.
  • Streamline VA's review process for establishing toxic exposure presumptions
  • Concede exposure to airborne hazards/burn pits based on locations & dates of service
  • Require medical exams/opinions for certain veterans with toxic exposure disability claims
  • Add hypertension and Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance to the list of presumptions for Agent Orange exposure
  • Establish a presumption of service connection for 23 respiratory illnesses and cancers related to burn pits/airborne hazards exposure
  • Create a presumption of exposure to radiation for veterans who participated in cleanup activities in Palomares, Spain, and Enewetak Atoll
  • Allow for a new tort claim for veterans and families exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune
  • Expand agent orange exposure to veterans who served in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia
  • Improve data collection between VA and the Department of Defense
  • Commission studies related to incidents of cancer among veterans, health trends of Post 9/11 veterans and feasibility of providing healthcare to dependents of veterans
  • Require VA to provide standardized training to improve toxic exposure disability claims adjudications
  • Require VA to conduct outreach and provide resources to toxic exposed veterans

AFSA has long supported reconciliation between the Honoring our PACT Act and a similar (but not identical) bill that was introduced in the Senate, S.3003, the Comprehensive and Overdue Support for Troops of War Act of 2021

As our Team reported on in the latest edition of the AFSA Magazine, in early-mid February, the Senate took its own step forward by introducing and passing the Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act. While the AFSA was pleased to see Congress work swiftly to advance legislation to improve access to health care and benefits for our nation's Veterans, the Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act did not cast the furtherest reaching net of the bills pending before the 117th Congress.

Recently, AFSA signed on to a letter of support with over 40 VSOs that further described our official position on this important issue. An excerpt from the letter is as follows:

"There have been a number of bills introduced in the House that address different aspects of the toxic exposures puzzle. However, the Honoring Our PACT Act is the only bill that provides a truly comprehensive solution. Although many of us have supported some of these other burn pits and toxic exposure bills, none of them provides a complete and lasting solution for veterans who are or may become ill as a result of toxic exposures."

On March 3, the House of Representatives passed the Honoring our PACT Act. Now, we turn our attention to the Senate. 

To join the fight for quality of life, please visit our Legislative Action Center and write to your Senators asking for their support of the Honoring our PACT Act

The link is as follows:

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out at

President Biden Announces Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2023, AFSA Attends White House Announcement

Yesterday, Matthew and Vanessa virtually attended the White House's (TWH) official unveiling of the President's Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Proposal. 

To see the budget in its entirety, please click here.

At the meeting were a select few organizations, senior White House officials, and the Director, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Shalanda D. Young. 

In an early March letter, on behalf of our 75,000+ members, AFSA's Chief Executive, Keith A. Reed, wrote the President directly to request the following considerations be taken into account when formulating the FY23 budget request:

  • Oppose budget cuts and sequestration
  • Be prepared to bolster VA funding of toxic exposure health care and benefits
  • Ensure regular military compensation (RMC) supports readiness and quality of life
  • Resist TRICARE fee increases/maintain affordable healthcare
  • Fully fund MIlTA and Impact Aid

"While the AFSA is concerned with our rapidly inclining national debt, and the effect it has on decisions that directly impact service members past and present and their families, the AFSA will oppose any cuts to government spending deemed essential to maintain readiness, improve quality of life, and support the well-being of those in the military network at-large," said Chief Executive Reed. "Moreover, the AFSA stands ready to support any spending increases that allow for the continuation, establishment, and/or expansion of benefits and programs available to those who are currently serving, have served, may decide to serve, and their families."

While the budgetary process is far from over, as the power of the purse is constitutionally held by Congress, from what we've identified thus far, the President's FY23 budget request contains many positive takeaways (within the scope of AFSA's Legislative Platform). Several are as follows:

Department of Defense (DoD)

  • 4.6% Pay-Raise
  • No hidden TRICARE fee increases
  • Funding to support Basic Needs Allowance (BNA)
  • Increase in BAH funding
  • Increase in Child Care fee assistance monthly cap (to $1,700)
  • $12.2B in investments in Construction and Family Housing programs
  • $1.3B supporting construction of quality of life and medical facilities
  • $1B for a new Red Hill Recovery Fund

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

  • Largest overall budget in history ($301.4 billion, a 13.3% increase from FY22)
  • 21.3% increase in funding for medical care
  • $13.9B for VA mental health care
  • $63 million within the VA medical care program to "increase scientific understanding of and clinical support for Veterans and health care providers regarding the potential adverse impacts from environmental exposures during military service"
  • $497 million to support several Veteran suicide prevention initiatives

How the Budgetary Process Works from Here

For governmental agencies and their programs to be funded, congressional authorization committees must pass, and the President must sign, authorization bills giving agencies the legal authority to fund and operate their programs. 

Congress's first task in the annual process is to pass a budget resolution creating a framework and setting overall spending limits. The Senate and the House of Representatives will each draft their own budget resolution, which is then reconciled and merged, with each chamber voting on an identical resolution. 

The appropriations committee for each chamber divides the amount allotted for federal agency funding between 12 subcommittees. Each subcommittee is in charge of funding different functions of government. Within the scope of AFSA's operations, we primarily work with leadership and members of the House and Senate Subcommittees on Military Personnel and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon VA). 

The subcommittees conduct various hearings with agency leaders about their budget requests and draft appropriations bills setting the funding for each. 

The full House and Senate vote on their bills, merge both versions of each one, and vote on the identical version of every bill. Each one, if passed, goes to the president for signature

Our Team is currently in the process of taking a deeper dive into the budget requests from DoD and the VA. From there, we will identify a more extensive listing of areas of support, potential shortcomings, and additional priorities that we wish to include in each respective authorization measure. As more updates unfold, our Team will keep you posted.

  Legislative Action Center  

Support the Care for the Veteran Caregiver Act!

Link to Advocacy Campaign:

Legislation Summary

  • Updates the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by requiring the VA to continue providing assistance to a family caregiver for at least six months after the death of a veteran participating in the program.
  • Requires the VA to establish a process by which veterans who are determined to have the most significant need for caregiver assistance are permanently eligible for such assistance.
  • Requires the VA to standardize the criteria used across all facilities in its required evaluations of the needs of the veterans and the skills of the family caregiver.
  • Standardizes criteria used in accepting and evaluating applications for participation in the program across all facilities.

Support the CHAMPVA Children's Care Protection Act!

Link to Advocacy Campaign:

Legislation Summary

This bill provides that a child shall be eligible for medical care under the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) until the child's 26th birthday, regardless of marital status.

Support the AUTO for Veterans Act!

Link to Advocacy Campaign:

Legislation Summary

The Advancing Uniform Transportation Opportunities for Veterans "AUTO" Act would reduce the financial burden incurred by virtue of military service by ensuring severely disabled veterans receive a grant from the VA's Automobile Assistance Grant program to purchase a specially equipped vehicle once every ten years - as opposed to only once.

Support the Aid and Attendance Support Act!

Link to Advocacy Campaign:

Legislation Summary

The Aid and Attendance Support Act temporarily increases eligible disabled veterans' and surviving spouses' Aid and Attendance (A&A) allowance by 25%.

Support the Ensuring Survivor Benefits during COVID-19 Act!

Link to Advocacy Campaign:

Legislation Summary

The Ensuring Survivor Benefits During COVID-19 Act requires the VA to solicit a medical opinion to determine if a service-connected disability was the principal or contributory cause of death in situations where a veteran's death certificate identifies COVID-19 as the principal or contributory cause of death, the certificate does not clearly identify any of the veteran's service-connected disabilities as the principal or contributory cause of death, and a claim for dependence and indemnity compensation is filed with respect to the veteran.

Support the TRICARE Select Restoration Act!

Link to Advocacy Campaign:

Legislation Summary

The TRICARE Select Restoration Act would eliminate TRICARE Select enrollment fees for veterans who retired prior to 2018.

Support the Healthcare for Our Troops Act!

Link to Advocacy Campaign:

Legislation Summary

  • Ensures Reservists and National Guard members have no-fee healthcare through TRICARE Reserve Select that covers medical and dental coverage.
  • Fixes the parity gap for Reserve Component retirees receiving early retirement pay due to deployment credits making them eligible for TRICARE upon receipt of retirement pay.
  • Provides an incentive for small businesses to hire Reserve and National Guard members by ensuring their healthcare costs are covered.
  • Ensures service members can access physicals needed to be ready for no-notice deployments (which have increased over the past year).
  • Eliminates the statutory language that excludes Federal Employees Health Benefits Program eligible service members from TRICARE Reserve Select eligibility.

Support the Advancing Toward Impact Aid Full Funding Act!

Link to Advocacy Campaign:

Legislation Summary 

The Advancing Toward Impact Aid Full Funding Act would:

  • Split Impact Aid's $1.1 billion request evenly over five years, across three main categories for funding: Basic Support, Federal Property, and Children with Disabilities.
  • Increase Basic Support funding by $190 million annually, meeting Impact Aid's 2019 funding requests.
  • Increase Federal Property funding proportionally to Basic Support (BSP) by allocating an additional $11 million annually.
  • Increase funding for Children with Disabilities by $9 million annually, funding $2,000 per eligible student.
  • Advance national K-12 school systems to become more equitable and meet educational needs.
  • Support military families that are especially impacted by federally tax-exempt land.

Support the Health Care Fairness for Military Families Act!

Link to Advocacy Campaign:

Legislation Summary 

  • Modifies the extension of dependent coverage under TRICARE by allowing a dependent at the age of 26 to be covered without an additional premium.  
  • Authorizes such coverage of dependents without a premium regardless of whether they are eligible to enroll in an employer-sponsored plan.

Support Expanding TRICARE Cranial Remolding Helmet Coverage!

Link to Advocacy Campaign:

AFSA urges our nation's elected officials to support legislation that would expand the scope of TRICARE's coverage of the DOC Band Post-Op device if your baby:

  1. Is three to 18 months old; and
  2. Is diagnosed with craniosynostosis or nonsynostotic positional plagiocephaly (to include torticollis)

Support the Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act!

Link to Advocacy Campaign:

Legislation Summary 

  • Allow an employer a work opportunity tax credit for hiring the spouse or domestic partner of a member of the Armed Forces.
  • Specifically, an employer may receive a tax credit equal to 40% of a new employee's first-year wages if the employer hires a service member's spouse or domestic partner (as recognized under state law or by the Armed Forces). 
  • Create programs for service members to pay for childcare on a pretax basis.
  • Specifically, the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security (with respect to the Coast Guard) must implement flexible spending arrangements that permit members of the Armed Forces to use basic pay and compensation to pay on a pretax basis for dependent childcare.

Support the Retired Pay Restoration Act!

Link to Advocacy Campaign:

Legislation Summary

  • Allows the receipt of both military retired pay and veterans' disability compensation with respect to any service-connected disability.
  • Extends full concurrent receipt eligibility to individuals who were retired or separated after at least 20 years of military service due to a service-connected disability.

Call To Action: Share How TRICARE's coverage of the Dynamic Orthotic Cranioplasty (DOC) Band Post-Op device negatively impact your family's quality of life!

Share your Story Here:


For the past year, our Military and Government Relations Team has been working with AFSA military families on getting legislation introduced that would expand the scope of TRICAR's coverage of the DOC Band Post-Op device if a baby:

  1. Is three to 18 months old; and
  2. Is diagnosed with craniosynostosis or nonsynostotic positional plagiocephaly (to include torticollis)

Despite unsuccessful efforts (via FOIA request) to obtain important data for the purpose of quantifying the need of this issue in the aggregate, our Team is looking to hear from the field to share your story and help have your voice heard by members of Congress.

Issue Background

  • Helmet therapy is used to gently correct the shape of babies' skulls over time.
  • Newborn babies' skulls are soft plates with spaces between them. As the baby grows, these plates grow, gradually harden, and knit together.
  • Unfortunately, there are circumstances under which the soft plates may develop a flat spot or uneven appearance. This condition is called plagiocephaly. 
  • Today, almost one in two babies (47%) is affected by some form of plagiocephaly.
  • When the baby's skull joins together too early, or in an abnormal way, this is called craniosynostosis. There are several types of craniosynostosis, depending on when the baby's skull joins together. 
  • Today, it is estimated that 1 in every 2,500 babies has craniosynostosis.
  • Positional skull deformities and/or abnormalities - whether diagnosed as a form of plagiocephaly or craniosynostosis - can have short and long term health effects on a child.
  • However, despite this, TRICARE only covers the Dynamic Orthotic Cranioplasty (DOC) Band Post-Op device, synonymously referred to as a "molding helmet," if your baby:
  1. Is three to 18 months old; and
  2. Has had craniosynostoris surgery;
  3. But still has a misshaped skull.
  • In other words, cranial molding helmet(s) are not covered for the treatment of nonsynostotic positional plagiocephaly or for the treatment of craniosynostosis before surgery; despite medical evidence that suggests the presence or absence of congenital or acquired plagiocephaly (to include torticollis) can, at the very least, increase the risk of gross motor development.
  • In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics school-aged children with moderate to severe plagiocephaly scored lower than controls on cognitive and academic measures. 
  • As a result, military families - who face unique challenges given the sacrifices that come along with serving our country - have been put in the tragic position to either front the hefty cost of the helmet (approximately $2,000), seek alternative forms of treatment that may not be preferred, or forego treatment altogether.

  AFSA Membership Information  

AFSA International Convention Website LIVE; Registration to Open Soon

AFSA is proud to announce that the official website for the 2022 International Convention is now LIVE! 

Website link:

AFSA will be celebrating 75 years of air power by recognizing yesterday's sacrifice, today's service, and tomorrow's opportunity.

The 2022 International Convention & Family Reunion will convene in Las Vegas, Nevada at:

Convention Center Tropicana, Las Vegas, Nevada

3801 S Las Vegas Blvd, 

Las Vegas, NV 89109

RESERVATIONS OPEN SOON - CLICK HERE for updates as they become available.

Greetings AFSA Division and Chapter Leadership,

We are pleased to share the AFSA Set-It-Forever/Auto Pay procedures and marketing materials to help share the process with our members, your membership and potential new recruits.

The Set-It-Forever/Auto Pay program creates an opportunity to JOIN AFSA or RENEW a membership by making a $36 once-a-year/every-year auto payment, or a $4-each-month/every- month auto payment. The $36 once-a-year option is set at $36, and the $4-a-month option includes a bank processing fee of $1 each month.

Review the two ways to enroll, the benefits to using the auto-pay option, and the marketing materials to help share the details of this program and ensure its success.

For more information, please click here.

For questions, please contact AFSAHQ Member & Field team at 800-638-0594 x 288.

Please Update Your Contact Information Today!

Dear Air Force Sergeants Association Member,

In order for the AFSA to effectively communicate with our members, it is essential to ensure we have your current and / or valid e-mail address. 
We are in the process of updating our records and need your help! Please take a moment to ensure that we have your most current mail and email address (no .mil's); and accurate membership listing information.

We've made it easy, as you can update your information in either one of three ways: 

  1. Call Member & Field Relations team directly at 800-638-0594 x 288 (Mon. - Fri. 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (EST)
  2. Email to:
  3. Visit and select the UPDATE button on the right

We thank you in advance for your support and prompt updates.

  And that's the way it is...  

In sum, last October, when eligibility reassessments for the roughly 20,000 "legacy" participants of the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) began, VA administrators expected a 33 percent denial rate. 

However, most recently, that number has been estimated to eclipse the 90 percentile. 
In response, last week, VA Deputy Secretary Donald Remy said that all dismissals from the program would be halted until authorities could fully study recent revisions to the qualifying requirements. In response, AFSA's Chief Executive, Keith A. Reed, wrote to Secretary McDonough expressing gratitude for the VA's decision to reassess the regulations that govern PCAFC and urged the following:

  1. Eliminate the requirement that a veteran must have a single or combined service-connected disability rating of 70% or more
  2. Reform the requirement that a veteran need in-person personal care services for a minimum of six continuous months based on an inability to perform an activity of daily living (ADL) each time the activity is performed
  3. Complete phase two expansion to all eras of service without any further delays
  4. Re-enroll all legacy participants approved by the VA before the effective date of the final rule (October 1, 2020)
  5. Terminate annual reassessments of qualifying ADLs if a disability is unlikely to improve
  6. Ensure compliance with the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act [Public Law 115-55] on notices of decisions
  7. Extend the continuation of caregiver benefits following the death of a participating veteran from 90 days to not less than six months


In other news, it is no secret that military spouses often have a more difficult time than their civilian counterparts finding gainful employment, especially since active duty military personnel move frequently.

AFSA is currently lobbying in support of a creative solution (WOTC expansion) that would encourage businesses to recruit military spouses. For more information, please visit the AFSA On the Hill section of this M&G-B.

And lastly, our Military and Government Relations Team has updated our Legislative Action Center w/ 13 new advocacy campaigns! 

The most recent, of which, is a Legislative Time Sensitive Target (LTST) urging you to write to your elected officials in support of landmark toxic exposure legislation, the Honoring our PACT Act. For more information, please visit the AFSA On the Hill Section of this M&G-B.

And that's the way it is for Tuesday, March 29, 2022.
Stay tuned for our next M&G-B, where we will continue to keep you in the loop on all things pertinent to the coronavirus, veterans, active-duty members, guards and reservists, and military family members. Stay happy, and stay healthy!