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Concerned Constituent Letter Draft Templates



The key to a career in Congress is constituent support. Every member of Congress must affirm this every two years in order to assume or resume membership in the legislative branch of the U.S. Government. For this reason, members of Congress are generally very sensitive to the needs and views of the people they serve.

Your Congressional Representative is not a mind reader, they can't know what you think or want unless you tell them. For USFSPA casualties, at this juncture, this means telling those elected to represent your interests on Capitol Hill why they should introduce/co-sponsor the American Retirees Association’s “Uniformed Services Divorce Equity Act of 2011” legislative proposal and advocate its consideration by the House/Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittees. You may do this by telephone, email or FAX (preferred).

FAX messages have become the most popular choice of communication with Congress, since 9-11.


The following sample letters should not be quoted, verbatim.  Repeated appearances of the sample text could call your authenticity and sincerity into question. Your congressional representative will correctly view this as a disingenuous insult and ignore any future communications by replying with thoughtless “boiler-plate” responses. 


The first paragraph should state your purpose, and identify the issue(s) or specific piece of legislation that prompted you letter. Use personal examples to support your argument but be extremely courteous and to the point, and keep the letter as short as possible - preferably one page.



Date

The Honorable (Full name)
United States Senate/US House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510/20515

Dear Senator/Congress(wo)man (Family name):

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA); 10 USC 1408 et seq has been in effect since 25 June 1981.  The hardships it has inflicted on affected service personnel and their families, since that time, may exceeds the benefits to former spouses it is intended to protect. Moreover, the early 1980's society of military families this law was designed for, has changed, dramatically:

The USFSPA was crafted primarily for the benefit female spouses of male commissioned officers. Although two thirds of the former spouse population is married to enlisted personnel, only a small percentage of them enjoy the military health care and base privileges available to 20/20/20 former officer corps spouses.

Clearly, Congress was focused on protecting the non-military female member of a military marriage, in 1982.

The only pronoun “his”, appears only five times in the USFSPA. The dramatic growth of married female service personnel was neither anticipated nor accommodated. The small number of military spouses working outside the home, in 1981, has grown 60 percent in 2009.

The most egregious USFSPA provision authorizes court-ordered division of military retired pay as jointly earned marital property to former spouses after they remarry.

Another glaring inequity is that the minimum of 20 years creditable service military personnel must perform  to the receive retired pay their spouses qualify for the moment they say “I do” and receive their DD FORM 1173.

The USFSPA fails to take into account the vastly different characteristics, scope and duration of "services to the nation” performed by the respective military marriage partners. The divorced partner who is ordered in harms way receives the same consideration at the retired pay window as their non-combatant spouse.

By omission, the USFSPA authorizes payment of a 'windfall' to former spouses who benefit from post-divorce promotions, when they are indeed, no longer a factor.  Another error of omission is the lack of a provision limiting the amount of time former spouses can delay claiming omitted USFSPA property benefits, after their military divorce is final. This is tantamount to a congressionally endorsed lifetime of tyranny, to affected service members and their families.

Finally, although the USFSPA clearly intends that veteran’s disability compensation must not be re-distributed in divorce, this provision has been circumvented, violated and ignored by state courts and is in conflict with other legislation.

Please, familiarize yourself with the American Retirees Association’s Uniformed Services Divorce Equity Act legislative proposal
(http://www.americanretirees.org/usdea.htm) and:

  • Introduce/co-sponsor it
  • Urge cognizant Subcommittee Chairs to consider it
  • Support it in subcommittee and
  • Support it on the (Senate/House) floor

    Still serving proudly, (name)
    (mailing address)
    (phone number)



Date 

The Honorable (Full name)
United States Senate/US House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510/20515

Dear Senator/Congress(wo)man (Family name)

I am advised that Senate and House Armed Service Committee joint conference delegates are resolving differences in their respective versions of the Fiscal Year 20__ National Defense Authorization Act, behind closed doors.  I respectfully urge you to formally announce your opposition to Sections___________________.

Still serving proudly, (name)
(mailing address)
(phone number)


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