Stop denying earned survivor benefits to military surviving spouses
I am requesting support for over 65,000 military widows/ers whose spouses died on active duty, killed in action or in the line of duty or post retirement of a service caused disability or illness. We are the only widow/er in the entire federal government to be denied our full survivor benefits. Most of us are robbed of over $1,000 a month by the Dept of Defense as a result of an archaic law dating back to 1972. Congress over 20 years has failed to take care of those who sacrificed all. My husband was serving his 30th year in the Navy when the F-18 he was riding in malfunctioned and crashed. He was killed, and in a moment, my life changed forever. My three children, our families, and I were devastated and overcome with grief. Then I was horrified to discover that after they handed me the folded flag "on behalf of the President of the US and a grateful nation", that the Dept. of Defense was not very grateful in the least. I sacrificed my husband, my best friend, and the father of our 3 children, our sole provider, and now we were expected to also sacrifice financially! We impacted surviving spouses need to change the law in order to receive our survivor benefits in full. It would be illegal for an insurance company to deny paying an insurance policy just because the beneficiary had another policy. But our government does this and Congress has failed for 20 years to fix this. I need your help. 65,255 impacted military widows/ers need your help. Call your Congressman/woman and ask him/her to co-sponsor HR 553, the bill that will eliminate this unjust offset. My husband’s earned survivor benefit insurance, the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), a insurance annuity, a benefit of employment that he earned, was not paid to me in full. When he died, I was informed that I would only be getting a fraction of the benefit I should have received. When I asked why, it was explained to me that those spouses who also were eligible to receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), an entitlement paid from the Veterans Administration to indemnify or hold the government harmless for causing my husband's death, over 65,000 of us, will have their SBP survivor annuity insurance benefits offset dollar for dollar by DIC. Full SBP payment is unfairly denied to those surviving spouses. This is known as the SBP-DIC offset, and we must fight to end it. This is a purchased insurance. It is not the norm for one insurance to not be paid just because the beneficiary has another policy. "This is the only insurance one purchases and then is legally prohibited from collecting." Senator Bill Nelson, former insurance commissioner for the state of Florida. When I lost my husband, I lost 78% of our household income. His pay stopped the day of his death. With 3 children, a mortgage, and no job, after moving 26 times, life was difficult. I don't want this to happen to anymore widows. Every widow of every new fallen hero is subject to this same denial of survivor benefits. The Dept. of Defense reduces the Survivor Benefit Plan, a form of insurance that pays a portion of retired pay to the surviving spouse and/or children by the amount I would receive in DIC, which holds the government harmless for causing my husband's death. DoD claims these are duplicative benefits, yet 100% disabled military retirees may receive all their military retired pay plus VA disability compensation. But when they die, their widow is "double dipping". Disability compensation ends with the death. DIC is currently $1319.04 per month. That is what DoD deducts from SBP, leaving most surviving spouses left with zero in SBP and only DIC. This is wrong. Today, most SBP-DIC offset surviving spouses receive DIC and zero in the earned and purchased SBP. These surviving spouses deserve better from their country. I’m calling on Congress to provide surviving spouses with 100% of the Survivor Benefit Plan promised. Our government is reneging on a voluntarily PURCHASED insurance plan whose entire purpose is to ensure that surviving spouses are taken care of financially should the sponsor pre-decease her/him. When a servicemember makes the ultimate sacrifice, their family shouldn’t have to worry about how they will survive. As a Navy spouse, I was there for countless others who experienced loss. When I lost my husband, I realized how negligent the government bureaucracy is towards families who have paid the ultimate price. I want to be there for those families again. Hopefully, if we can gather enough petition support, the government will not ignore us. Congress will change the law. DoD will be prevented from making a windfall profit off of our spouse's deaths by not paying in full their survivor benefits. Please sign the petition to end SBP-DIC offset for military surviving spouses and ask Congress to pass House Resolution HR 553, (Rep Joe Wilson, SC) and Senate bill S.622 (Senators Doug Jones, AL introduced with 28 original co-sponsors, the two bills to change the law and end this unjust forfeiture of what our spouses paid for with blood and income. Use the Capital Switchboard number to be connected to your Representative and both Senators and ask them to co-sponsor these bills. toll free: 866-272-6622
Justice for Krystil & Avalynn Kincaid
On September 9, 2018 a man chose to drink and drive. In this choice he ended up speeding into an 8-month-pregnant woman who lost her life and her daughter's life in this accident. Since Avalynn was killed prior to being born she is not considered a victim of this accident. So now the drunk driver, whose name I am choosing not to mention because he does not deserve to be known, will only face 10 years MAXIMUM for killing Krystil and her daughter Avalynn. A 29-year-old woman will miss the rest of her life and the lives of her 2 sons, her daughter, and step daughter, and Avalynn will miss any opportunity at life. Ten years would not be enough to bring justice to this family when the man walked away from this crash uninjured, he posted video on Facebook live after the accident where he blamed Krystil, and never once did he go to check on her or see if he could help her. Why should the system not have a reasonable opportunity to charge this man with a sentence that would bring this family some justice since they no longer have their wife, mother, daughter, and friend? Words from Krystil’s husband and Avalynn’s father: "A drunk driver speeding down a two lane highway at 85+mph in the wrong lane around a blind corner destroyed my family. The max sentence for killing my wife and daughter is 10 years. The state of California doesn't think there was intent, but I know driving recklessly in that manner, he didn't intend anything good.... my daughter's due date was October 9th, a 36-week-old fully developed baby isn't considered a person in the state of California. How do I explain to my children this injustice. My children and I have never felt so disposable... Look at the devastation left behind that is my family and tell me it isn't time for change....imagine if this was your family... Who will fight with me for change? Who will spread this like wild fire? Who will write their representatives and demand change?? We cannot as a society look the other way any longer. Driving drunk is intent."
Save Net Neutrality
Net neutrality preserves the right to communicate freely on the internet. Net neutrality requires internet service providers (ISPs) to give everyone equal access to everything you use on the internet-- email, watching videos, reading news articles, and listening to music. It prohibits ISPs from slowing down, speeding up, or blocking content on the internet. It is how the internet has always worked. Unfortunately, this is being threatened by the FCC- the Federal Communications Commission. If the FCC ends net neutrality, then how we’ve used the internet changes completely. ISPs will be able to block content, slow down internet access, and favor websites over others. It will also end the Title II of the Communications Act, which charges ISPs for blocking content or slowing down internet and creating “fast lanes.” “Fast lanes” would allow certain internet service providers to give internet access faster than any other service providers. Ending net neutrality could have global impacts and change the way the world shares information and changes how information is processed. As high school seniors about to enter into the real world, we cannot imagine what life would be like if we did not have net neutrality. Net neutrality allows us to use our freedom of speech on a platform that is like no other. I can go on the internet and research something without the fear that an ISP has favored a certain website that is completely biased one way or blocked certain websites. If you believe we should have free access to the internet, sign this petition to show your support. This issue is time sensitive and must be addressed. Support free and open internet! Thank you for your support, Katie Lemon
Tell Congress not to pass the SEA, Act & SECURE, Act which will harm protected marine life
The SEA Act bill and the SECURE Act bill would give oil industries almost unregulated ability to perform Seismic surveying. The practice involves a ship firing blasts of pressurized air to create powerful sound pulses that penetrate beneath the seafloor. Below the water, the explosions sound like bombs going off every 10 to 15 seconds and can be heard as far as 1,500 miles, audio recordings show. The testing threatens a number of species and is part of a thinly veiled oil industry wish list that would upend established protections and fast-track the permitting process for oil exploration off the Atlantic, much of Alaska and even California. Both bills have passed committee and could head to a full vote any day. The bills follow other undoings that have prioritized oil and gas energy over conservation which is vital to the protection of endangered species. The new bills would target the core provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which regulates seismic blasts used to locate oil and gas. The noise, scientists say, can disorient and damage the hearing of whales and dolphins so badly that they lose their ability to navigate and reproduce. We cannot allow further offshore oil and gas exploration and development as it harms our coastal economies in the near term and opens the door to even greater risks from offshore oil and gas production down the road. To read the full story, check out http://seavoicenews.com/2018/04/02/oil-seismic-tests-law-harms-marine-life/
Support legislation to keep dialysis patients insured. Tell Congress to pass H. R. 3976.
Low-income Americans with high-cost chronic conditions, like kidney disease, often require charitable assistance to pay for their health insurance premiums. But some insurance companies are refusing to accept payments from non-profit organizations. This puts low-income and financially struggling patients at risk of losing their insurance. Patient advocates for the American Kidney Fund started a petition to help address this crisis. We are fighting to ensure that all kidney dialysis patients can maintain access to their life-saving treatment. The Access To Marketplace Insurance Act would do just that, and we are calling on Congress to pass it into law. The Access to Marketplace Insurance Act, was introduced in the House of Representatives last October. The bill would require insurance companies to accept payments from nonprofit organizations like the American Kidney Fund that serve people who are living with serious health conditions and need charitable assistance to stay insured. Now Congress must take the next step and pass this legislation to ensure that ALL low-income Americans living with chronic conditions can keep their insurance and get the care they need. Please sign and share this petition calling on Congress to vote on this vital legislation right away.
Demand Congress Hold Trump Accountable For His Sexual Harassment and Assaults!
Congressional Members are duty bound by the oath they took to uphold and defend our Constitution to hold President Trump accountable for his 20+ charges of Sexual Harassment or Assault. To date, President Trump has been accused by over 20 women for unwanted sexual assaults including forced kissing, groping, genital grabbing, forced touching, and rape. Congress owes these victims an investigation into their charges and to ensure President Trump is no longer a threat to innocent women.
Defund to Stop the Wild Horse and Burro Roundups and Slaughter
Wild horses are a native species and must be saved! Legal loopholes allow the BLM to sell thousands of wild horses to slaughter middlemen known as kill buyers to dispose of alleged "excess and unadoptable" American wild horses and this must stop now! Slaughter is cruel and inhumane. This is what cruel roundups look like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yF49csCB9qM They are the first step towards slaughter. Craig Downer published the peer reviewed paper titled The Horse and Burro as Positively Contributing Returned Natives in North America. According to a press release from National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released June 5, 2013, "The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) current practice of removing free-ranging horses from public lands promotes a high population growth rate, and maintaining them in long-term holding facilities is both economically unsustainable and incongruent with public expectations, says a new report by the National Research Council." The NAS report states there is "no evidence" of overpopulation. Only tobacco science and spin backs up BLM's population claim to justify roundups and fertility control/sterilizations. . . PZP is an EPA approved RESTRICTED-USE PESTICIDE that sterilizes wild horses after multiple use so it's risky for long-term herd survival. See information here: http://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/pending/fs_PC-176603_01-Jan-12.pdf Giving PZP to wild mares also results in foals being born late in the fall or winter and dying because they are too little to make it through a harsh winter. Fertility control research trials are big business. Left unchallenged, wild horses and burros will continue to be lab rats for human fertility control research. This exploitation must stop! We request an immediate halt to roundups for scientific population studies and studies on holistic management before it's too late. Wild horses are a returned-native species in America. Rounding up federally protected wild horses and burros has been documented as cruel. Warehousing them for decades is fiscally irresponsible. Sending wild horses to slaughter by selling them to middlemen is cruel and inhumane. Clearing wild horses and burros off public land--for industrialization, fracking, grazing and the water grab--goes against the 1971 Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act put in place to protect the living legends of the American West. They must never go to slaughter. We request you defund and stop the roundups immediately as well as reverse the Burns Amendment to stop unlimited sales of wild horses to slaughter. There is no accurate census and the BLM figures do not add up. We request population studies for each herd management area (HMA) and each herd area (HA) because we are gravely concerned there are less than 18,000 wild horses and burros in the 10 western states combined. More roundups, fertility control/sterilizations and sales to slaughter will wipe them out because the majority are no longer genetically viable herds. Wild horses are underpopulated despite spin from the forces that want to perform heinous sterilizations in the field. Humane fertility control could be looked at as an option only after scientific population studies have been conducted for each herd management area. The EPA approved restricted-use pesticides known as PZP and Gonacon have risks as do other drugs . . . Right now fertility control is premature, will destroy natural selection and could cause harm because wild horses are underpopulated in the West. Field observers have noticed a worrisome decline in wild horse and burro populations since the BLM's rampant roundups from 2009 to this day. Kindly allow returned-native wild horses and burros to reverse desertification, reduce the fuel for wildfires and create biodiversity on public land, live with their families and inspire us with their spirit. Right now America's wild horses and burros are being managed to extinction. They need your help to stop the roundups and slaughter today.
No pay for elected federal officials during government shutdown.
Every year those who are federal employees grit their teeth with the fear that their place of employment will go unfunded and they will not be able to pay bills or place food on their tables. The legislative branches failure to agree on a budget means that millions across the country will not receive pay when they need it. This petition is created to ensure that our elected representatives are treated the same as every other government employee. If there is no funding for others why is it that elected officials that work for "the people" still receive pay? This petition aims to receive national recognition in order for all branches of government that hold elected positions to not receive pay for the period that there is a partial or full government shut down. Failure to pay serious attention to this subject matter will show the American people that lawmakers truly do not support those who elected them. When it hits the pockets of lawmakers as hard as it hits the pockets of federal employees they will all no longer play politics and use us as weapons in their political games. This petition will bring lawmakers to more equal footing so that they truly understand how we are ALL affected during times of gridlock. No pay for those elected to serve in an official capacity in the U.S. government by the people of the united states during a government shut down!
Stop denying earned survivor benefits to military surviving spouses
My husband was serving his 30th year in the Navy when the F-18 he was riding in crashed. He was killed, and in a moment, my family's life changed forever. While my children and I were devastated, and then we were saddened to discover that the Dept. of Defense and Congress was far less supportive. My husband’s earned survivor benefit insurance, the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), a insurance annuity, was not paid to me in full. When he died, I was informed that I would only be getting a fraction of the benefit promised. When I asked why, it was explained to me that those spouses who also were eligible to receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from the Veterans Administration will have their SBP survivor annuity insurance benefits offset dollar for dollar by DIC. Full SBP payment is unfairly denied to those surviving spouses. This is known as the SBP-DIC offset, and we must fight to end it. When I lost my husband, I lost 75% of our household income. Today, most SBP-DIC offset surviving spouses receive compensation of only $15,095 a year. These surviving spouses deserve better from their country. I’m calling on Congress to provide surviving spouses with 100% of the Survivor Benefit Plan promised. Our government is reneging on a voluntarily purchased insurance plan whose entire purpose is to ensure that surviving spouses are taken care of financially should the sponsor pre-decease her/him. When a servicemember makes the ultimate sacrifice, their family shouldn’t have to worry about how they will survive. As a Navy spouse, I was there for countless others who experienced loss. When I lost my husband, I realized how negligent the government bureaucracy is towards families who have paid the ultimate price. I want to be there for those families again. Hopefully, if we can gather enough petition support, the government will not ignore us. Please sign the petition to end SBP-DIC offset for military surviving spouses and ask Congress to pass HR 846, (Rep Joe Wilson, SC) and S 339, (Senators Nelson, FL and Collins, ME), the two bills to change the law and end this unjust offset.
Require Bed Regulations in Wheelchair Accessible Lodging Facilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act fails to address an imperative part of access in hotels and other lodging facilities; bed design. Two Major Issues in lodging facilities: Bed Height Clearance Under the Bed Call for Action: Address bed height standards in ADA Standards to have minimum and maximum bed heights Address clearance under bed in ADA Standards to require minimum clearance to ensure access for lifts Require lodging facilities to provide bed height and under bed clearance in room description Currently there are no regulations that apply to beds in wheelchair accessible rooms. For wheelchair users, the importance of bed height and clearance under the bed is undeniable. Many wheelchair users traveling alone are unable to achieve transfers into beds that are too high or too low. Regulating the bed height is a simple but majorly impactful way of ensuring people with disabilities have access to travel, one of our fundamental Constitutional rights. Furthermore, people traveling with lifts are unable to utilize lifts if there is no clearance under the bed. Requiring a certain amount of clearance under the bed will ensure that individuals needing lifts will have the ability to use them. I ask that the access board regulate beds in lodging facilities to ensure that people with disabilities can travel independently and seamlessly. At a very minimum require lodging facilities to provide bed height and clearance in their room descriptions or require they have the information available on request. Too many people with disabilities have been negatively impacted by extreme bed designs, and it poses a risk of injury to so many. It is imperative we address the issue.