Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, introduced the â€œDisabled Military Child Protection Act of 2012,â€ to provide long-term care for severely disabled children of servicemembers. The legislation would immediately allow more than 1,000 severely disabled military dependents to receive survivor benefits without losing their Medicaid and Social Security Disability assistance.
The â€œDisabled Military Child Protection Actâ€ would enable military retirees who invest in a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) to transfer their benefits to a Special Needs Trust (SNT) for their special needs children, accessible after the retiree passes away. While civilian federal retirees are able to establish similar SNTs for disabled children, there is no equivalent within the militaryâ€™s retirement system.
â€œAs a father of a special needs child, I know how important it is for parents to be able to provide them the best possible care,â€ said Rep. Moran. â€œThe health of our special needs military children should not suffer due to this loophole in the military retirement system. When health care costs for disabled kids can top $100,000 a year, the military needs to give parents the opportunity to plan for their special needs childrenâ€™s future.â€
Currently under the SBP, a military retiree can dedicate up to 55 percent of his or her monthly retirement pay to provide a monthly survivor benefit after he or she dies. Once distributed, these benefits are counted as income, disqualifying recipients from Medicaid and Social Security Disability Insurance assistance. SNT funding would allow the children of deceased military veterans to remain eligible for federal assistance while accessing their special needs trust.
Signing on as original co-sponsors of the bill are Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Steven Rothman (D-NJ), and Charles Rangel (D-NY).