INTRODUCTION OF THE DISABLED MILITARY CHILD PROTECTION ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 159, No. 77
(Extensions of Remarks - June 04, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E788]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




       INTRODUCTION OF THE DISABLED MILITARY CHILD PROTECTION ACT

                                 ______
                                 

                          HON. JAMES P. MORAN

                              of virginia

                    in the house of representatives

                         Tuesday, June 4, 2013

  Mr. MORAN. Mr. Speaker, today I am introducing the Disabled Military 
Child Protection Act. This important bill would enable military 
retirees, investing in a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), to transfer their 
benefit to a Special Needs Trust (SNT) to provide long-term care for a 
disabled child.
  Under the SBP, a military retiree can have a portion of his or her 
monthly retired pay withheld in order to provide, after his or her 
death, a monthly survivor benefit (55% of base amount of military 
retired pay at the time of the retiree's death) to a surviving spouse 
or other eligible recipient(s). However, by directing SBP annuity 
payments to an SNT, the retiree may ensure that a dependent, disabled 
child might continue to qualify for certain benefits, such as Social 
Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Medicaid, that are means 
tested. As you know Mr. Speaker, assets placed into an SNT are not 
generally counted as income or assets for the purposes of determining 
eligibility for these benefits. Current individual care costs for a 
disabled child could exceed $100,000 a year if he/she has assets 
greater than the Medicaid threshold.
  A SNT can be created by anyone, but there is no current mechanism for 
a military member to designate a Trust as the beneficiary of his/her 
SBP. This legislation would enable a SNT transfer similar to what is 
available to the general public today. This is an equity issue; 
currently, civilians can create a SNT for their permanently disabled 
children to ensure they receive care beyond their guardian's death, and 
are not subject to an income means-test. It is only fair to allow 
retired military personnel to prepare for the long-term care of their 
disabled children.
  As of March 2011, CBO estimates that the bill would increase 
mandatory outlays by $123 million over the 2012-2021 period. The 
mandatory cost is not directly attributed to DoD, but rather reflects 
the increased costs to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and 
Medicaid, since affected dependent children who are currently 
ineligible for those benefits would become eligible. This legislation 
would impact approximately 1,065 military dependents who are currently 
incapacitated beneficiaries under SBP.
  This bill would help many Americans who have nobly served our 
country, like one of my constituents who has a son named Thomas. Thomas 
was diagnosed with severe autism by the age of 2 and is non-verbal, 
communicating primarily through hand leading to express he is hungry, 
wants to take a shower, or go for a car ride. He is unable to 
independently perform routine activities of daily living such as 
dressing or tending to his personal hygiene, much less make himself 
something to eat, ask for help, or let someone know he is in pain. 
Thomas requires supervision and assistance, around the clock, to ensure 
his safety needs are met. Other than his severe autism diagnosis, 
Thomas is healthy and expected to live a normal lifespan. Our 
constituent, a single parent, is nearly 38 years older than Thomas, and 
has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The passage of this bill would 
allow him the flexibility to plan for Thomas' future care and well-
being.
  In the name of decency and fairness, I urge my colleagues to support 
this legislation and allow our military personnel some well-deserved 
peace of mind, knowing that their disabled children can be adequately 
provided for long after they are gone.

                          ____________________