Friday, June 1, 2012

Congressional Staff to War Widows: 'Have a Happy Memorial Day!'

Writer Bob Geiger reports on the treatment that Kristen Fenty and I received when visiting our elected officials in Washington:   
Fenty and Esposito have made at least two trips to Capitol Hill this year to drum up support for these bills and the treatment they are getting from elected representatives and Congressional staff runs the gamut from “tell them I’m not here” to brain-dead staffers chirping “have a happy Memorial Day” to two women whose husbands are the subject of that holiday – because they died.
Read Geiger's full report here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Update on Our Fight for Survivor Benefit Reform

In this video, Kristen Fenty and I talk about some new developments in our fight for military surviving spouse benefit reform.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Does Congress Respect Gold Star Wives?

Kristen Fenty and I share our experiences visiting Capitol Hill last week as advocates for military surviving spouse benefit reform.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Jonathan Gurwitz: 'Don't try balancing budget on heroes' survivors'

Columnist Jonathan Gurwitz of the San Antonio Express-News opined on the Widow's Tax in his Sunday column, focusing on Kristen Fenty and Edith Smith's advocacy of behalf of surviving military spouses:
While [Kristen Fenty] was grieving her husband's loss, she also came to a disturbing realization: For every dollar she received in Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, the government was making a corresponding reduction in the Survivor Benefit Plan annuity.
If insurance companies in the private sector tried to offset the death benefits of separate life insurance policies, they'd get sued to high heaven. When the federal government does so, it carries the force of law — and trims the Pentagon's budget without cutting personnel or weapons programs.
While Gurwitz makes a minor error in his presentation (incorrectly stating that active duty servicemen pay premiums for the Survivor Benefit Plan, which in practice is subsidized by the government as an earned benefit during active duty), his article makes clear how the status quo is grossly unfair to surviving military spouses. As Gurwitz observes, "Gold Star families have paid a high enough price. In a nation that is largely divorced from the consequences of war, it's unconscionable to attempt to balance the budget on their backs."

Needless to say, I wholeheartedly agree.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sign the Petition to Pass H.R.178 & S.260

My co-blogger and fellow Gold Star wife Kristen Fenty has set up an online petition calling on Congress to pass H.R.178 and S.260, bills that would eliminate the unfair financial offset and punitive tax burdens levied upon the families of our fallen heroes.

To sign the petition, visit here. It's quick, easy, and a great way to help support the cause of surviving spouses.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Media Mention: 'The Disgrace of War Widows Fighting for Benefits'

Author Bob Geiger reports on Kristen Fenty's 'Widow's Tax' advocacy at The Huffington Post.

Here's an excerpt of Geiger's story:
Kristen Fenty knows a thing or two about pain and struggle. 
Like all Gold Star Wives -- women whose spouses have died or been killed while on active duty in the U.S. military -- she has learned to live with the grief of losing her life partner, the disintegration of the life she imagined and, like so many war widows, the burden of instantly becoming a single parent and shepherding a child through the loss of her father.
What Kristen Fenty didn't expect was six years of getting raked over bureaucratic coals in simply trying to receive and keep the benefits to which surviving military families are entitled. . .
Read the full story here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Face of the Affected

‎Kristen Fenty and I have been passing out this sheet to members of Congress to help educate them on the unfair Survival Benefit Plan offset issue. It features a picture of Kristen's daughter Lauren, who was 28 days old when her father, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph J. Fenty, was killed in Afghanistan.

In one powerful image, it captures the reality of Lauren's life: that this precious child will never be able to know her father as she so richly deserved.

I encourage all our friends and fellow citizens to be outspoken in defense of surviving military families and to support HR178 & S260, much needed legislation that eliminates the unfair offset levied upon the earned benefits of our fallen heroes. 

I see it as a small, yet powerful gesture that we as the citizens of a grateful nation can make in support of the thousands of surviving military families that are affected by this issue.

Please follow this link to contact your elected representatives today.