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National Guard and Reserve Bill of Rights
The National Guard and Reserve Bill of Rights Act of 2005 is a bill to enhance the benefits and protections for members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces who are called or ordered to extended active duty.
The fact is, we are at war, and these brave men and women are fighting this battle overseas for those of us here at home. We should not expect anyone to defend this country without receiving the best treatment and compensation the government can offer.  Right now, we are not doing our best, and The National Guard and Reserve Bill of Rights Act of 2005 is the first step to correcting the problems these soldiers and their families face and shows our appreciation for the sacrifices they make for this great nation.

We have an obligation to our men and women on the ground to provide them with the best equipment available to get the job done, and this bill ensures we are holding up our end of the bargain. 

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MGIB Option for VEAP ERA Service Members
Without question, the greatest need cited by senior enlisted service members is to provide a second chance for those who turned down their initial opportu-nity to enroll in the Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP).

VEAP was a relatively insufficient program, that was poorly advertised, incorrectly counseled, and often discouraged by counselors because "something better" was coming along. Unfortunately, those who turned down VEAP were never allowed to convert to the MGIB. There are nearly 60,000 mil-itary members still serving who declined their one opportunity to enroll in the VEAP. These senior noncommissioned officers now face retirement with-out a transitional educational benefit. Time is running out for Congress to provide these deserving indi-viduals an enrollment opportunity. MORE INFO>>

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Retired Pay Restoration (Concurrent Receipt)
For over 100 years disabled military retirees have had to fund their own Disability Pay by a reduction in their Retired Pay. Military retirees are the only federal employees who are forced to give up part of their retired pay in order to receive disability pay. That’s outrageous!

This issue is simply a matter of fairness. We owe a debt of gratitude to all the men and women who serve our country in the Armed Forces. But we should recognize the special sacrifice of those veterans who are disabled. They literally have given a part of themselves in the service of their country and they should not be penalized in any way, particularly financially.

Congress has recently ended this practice for only _rd (50% disabled and above) of all disabled military retirees by instituting a 10-year phase-in of their full retired pay. It’s time to end the benefit discrimination against ALL disabled American veterans who are entitled both to disability payments and retirement benefits. MORE INFO>>

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Age 55 Reserve Retirement
MWhen the reserve retirement system was established in 1948, it was intended to supplement a normal civilian career promotion and retirement program. But over the past decade, reserve call-ups have averaged a 13 fold increase over any comparable period during the entire 50 years of the Cold War.

In addition, military leaders now plan to call up reserve service members every five or six years over the course of a 20 year reserve career. Such a policy is sure to cut into civilian compensation and retirement programs and may discourage many from a long-term reserve commitment leading to a military retirement. It's time to match the reserve retirement system with the realities of 21st century. MORE INFO>>

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Repeal SBP/DIC Off-set
There is a terrible injustice occurring right now to widows and widowers of active duty and retired service members entitled to Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC).
Under current law, the surviving spouse of a retired service member who dies of a service-connected cause is entitled to DIC from the Department of Veterans Affairs. If the military retiree was also enrolled in the Survivor Benefit plan (SBP), the surviving spouse’s SBP benefits are reduced by the amount of DIC. The offset also affects all survivors of members who are killed on active duty. There are approximately 53,000 military widows/widowers affected by the DIC offset.

It’s noteworthy, as a matter of equity, that surviving spouses of federal civilian retirees who are disabled veterans and die of military service connected causes can receive DIC without losing any of their purchased federal civilian SBP benefits.

We’ve just gone through wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that raised our national consciousness that service members lay their lives on the line for their country. Surely, we should be able to provide the same level of care for their families –- and the families of members who fought in previous wars -- that we provide for federal civilians. Haven’t their sacrifices for this country earned them that much?

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