Blinded Veterans Association BVA Bylaw Amendment Temporarily Reduces Life Membership Dues
Delegates appointed by their respective regional groups to the 71st National Convention of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) voted August 26 overwhelmingly in favor of adopting a bylaw amendment offering life membership to all blinded veterans at a discounted rate of $20.
The amendment will be effective from September 1, 2016 through and including August 1, 2017.
First submitted by the Association’s Membership Committee to its Bylaws and Resolutions Committee, which met August 24 at the convention site in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the amendment was recommended for passage and submitted to the full convention delegation for consideration two days later in its Closing Business Session.
Included in the amendment is the temporary suspension of annual membership and annual dues during that same time period. Veterans who are current Paying to Life Members or Paying to Associate Life Members may also participate in the dues initiative with the one-time payment in full of $20.
Bylaws prior to the amendment stipulated that annual dues were $15 per year and Life
Membership dues were determined by age categories. Within these categories the youngest age group was paying $100 and the oldest $50 for a life membership.
“Our organization needs to think outside the box and figure out a way to provide an immediate incentive to make it easier to get blind veterans to join as Life or Associate Life Members,” the proposed bylaw change justification stated. “It is evident more now than ever that BVA needs to come up with some real incentives for blind veterans to join BVA.”
Justification for submission of the amendment also included a commitment to disseminate information about the reduced membership dues in regional group newsletters, communications originating with Visual Impairment Services Team Coordinators, the Association’s bimonthly BVA Bulletin, and other relevant medium
“It is our hope that this bylaw amendment will inspire the some 48,000 blind veterans throughout the VA Health Care System to immediately join BVA.”
As part of the application process, the promotional membership application form sent to BVA must be accompanied by the following items on official Department of Veterans Affairs letterhead or through Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST)/Veterans Health Administration examination notes:
- Branch of Service
- Beginning and Ending Dates of Services
- Name of VIST Coordinator
- Confirmation of meeting standards of blindness as follows—
- ICD-9-CM Diagnosis Code 369.4 legal blindness, or
- Visual acuity of 20/200 or worse in the better eye with corrective lenses, or
- Visual field restriction to 20 degrees diameter or less in the better eye.
For more information about the bylaw amendment or BVA membership, please contact Membership Coordinator Cecilia Montenegro at the organization’s National Headquarters, 202-371-8880, Ext. 315, or firstname.lastname@example.org.