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"We believe surviving spouses and dependent children need an organization dedicated solely to their needs, concerns, and welfare.”

Current survivor legislation update from TAPS as of July 16, 2020

10 Jul 2020 12:23 PM | Nancy Menagh (Administrator)

CURRENT SURVIVOR LEGISLATION 2019-2020

A bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to secure medical opinions for veterans

with service-connected disabilities who die from COVID-19 to determine whether their

service-connected disabilities were the principal or contributory cases of death, and for

other purposes ( S.4166) – SVAC

Introduced in the Senate 07/02/2020, Sponsor: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ),

Co-Sponsor: Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)

Requires VA Secretary to secure medical opinions for veterans with service-connected

disabilities who die from COVID-19 to determine whether their service-connected

disabilities were the principal or contributory cases of death.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Improvement Act of 2019 ( H.R.3221/S.1047) -

SVAC/HVAC

Introduced in the Senate 04/04/2019, Sponsor: Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), Co-sponsors:

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), 4 current co-sponsors

Introduced in the House 06/12/2019, Sponsor: Johanna Hayes (), Co-Sponsors: Rep.

Derek Kilmer (D-WA-6), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-At Large), Rep. Lance

Gooden (R-TX-5), Rep. James Himes (D-CT-4), Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA-7), 19 current

co-sponsors

Creates an allowance for a deceased veteran's or deceased service member's surviving

spouse who is receiving dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) from the

Department of Veterans Affairs.

The bill provides a formula for calculating the monthly rate of the allowance based on the

DIC amount the spouse is entitled to receive.

Raises DIC to 55 percent of the rate of monthly compensation

Leasing Relief for Dependents of Fallen Heroes and Injured Servicemembers Act of 2020

(S.3854) - SVAC

Introduced in the Senate 06/01/2020, Sponsor: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA),

Co-Sponsor: Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

Clarifies the termination of leases of premises and motor vehicles of servicemembers

who incur catastrophic injury or illness or die while in military service.

Caring for Survivors Act of 2020 (H.R.6933) - HVAC

Introduced in the House 05/19/2020, Sponsor: Rep. TJ Cox (D-CA-21), Co-Sponsors

Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-CA-39), Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL-3), Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ-2),

Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT-5), 14 current co-sponsors

Increase in the amount of dependents and survivors income security benefit payable to

surviving spouses by the secretary of veterans affairs equal to 55 percent of the rate of

monthly compensation of 100 percent disabled.

Modification of requirements for dependents and survivors income security benefit

payable by department of veterans affairs for survivors of certain veterans rated totally

disabled at time of death from 10 or more years to 5 or more years.

Eligibility for dependents and survivors income security benefit payable by department of

veterans affairs for surviving spouses who remarry after age 55.

To amend title 10, United States Code, to extend certain morale, welfare, and recreation

privileges to recipients of the gold star lapel button (H.R.6412) - HASC

Introduced in the House 03/27/2020, Sponsor: Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL-26),

Co-Sponsors: Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ-3), Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL-4), 10 co-sponsors

An individual who received a gold star lapel button under section 1126 of this title shall

be permitted to use commissary stores and MWR retail facilities on the same basis as a

member of the armed forces on active duty.

Justice for ALS Veterans Act of 2019 ( H.R.4748/S.3091) - HVAC

Introduced in the House 10/18/2019, Sponsor: Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-CA-39),

Co-Sponsor: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1), 8 current co-sponsors

Introduced in the Senate 12/18/2019, Sponsor: Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE),

Co-Sponsor: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Increases Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) to the surviving spouse of a

veteran who dies from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease)

regardless of how long the veteran had such disease prior to death. Under current law,

such compensation is paid for a service-connected disability that was rated totally

disabling for a continuous period of at least eight years immediately preceding death.

Protecting Gold Star Families Education Act (S.1851) - Referred to Committee on Health,

Education, Labor, and Pensions

Introduced in the Senate 06/13/2019, Sponsor: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Co-Sponsors:

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)

Makes permanent and expands the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant that surviving

children are eligible for if they are above the Department of Education Pell Grant limits.

To qualify for assistance, dependents must be less than 33 years of age.

Pell Grant rules pertaining to the determination of financial need do not apply to the grants

awarded by this bill for veterans' dependents. Honoring All Veterans Act (H.R.3010) - HVAC

Introduced in House 05/23/2019, Sponsor: Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY-4), 42 original

co-sponsors, 58 current co-sponsors

Adds the following as a mission statement for the Department of Veterans Affairs: "To

fulfill President Lincoln's promise to care for those 'who shall have borne the battle' and

for their families, caregivers, and survivors.”

Veterans Estate Transfer to Survivors Act (H.R.2736) - Referred to Subcommittee on Disability

Assistance and Memorial Affairs - DAMA

Introduced in the House 05/14/2019, Sponsor: Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1), no co-sponsors

Clarifies that the estate of a deceased veteran may receive certain accrued benefits upon

the death of the veteran.

Fry Scholarship Improvement Act of 2019 (H.R.2221/S.1283) - HVAC/SVAC

Introduced in the House 04/10/2019, Sponsor: Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12),

Co-Sponsor: Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA-49), 2 co-sponsors

Introduced in the Senate 05/02/2019, Sponsor: Sen. James Lankford (R-OK),

Co-Sponsor: Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE)

Expands Fry Scholarship eligibility to surviving spouses and children of National Guard

and Reservists who are not activated at the time of death.

CHAMPVA Children's Care Protection Act of 2019 ( H.R.2094/S.1034) - Referred to

Subcommittee on Health/SVAC

Introduced in the House 04/04/2019, Sponsor: Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), 11

current co-sponsors

Introduced in the Senate 04/04/2019, Sponsor: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), 10 original

co-sponsors, 12 current co-sponsors

Provides that a child shall be eligible for medical care under the Civilian Health and

Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) until the child's

26th birthday, regardless of the child's marital status.

SFC Brian Woods Gold Star and Military Survivors Act (H.R.1911) - HASC/HVAC

Introduced in the House 03/27/2019, Sponsor: Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL-6),

Co-Sponsors: Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA-6), Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE-2), 35 co-sponsors

Expands benefits for survivors of members of the Armed Forces.

Provides commissary and exchange privileges to a remarried former spouse.

Provides continued eligibility for payment of an annuity to a spouse who remarries,

including a surviving spouse who remarried before the age of 55 and before enactment of

this bill.

Allows payment of necessary expenses for the transportation of a decedent's remains to

two locations (if the second is a national cemetery.

Allows payment of financial assistance to civilian providers of child care or youth

program services furnished to survivors of members who die in the line of duty while on

active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training.

Provides continued eligibility of a remarried surviving spouse for payment of veterans'

dependency and indemnity compensation, including a surviving spouse who remarried

before the age of 57 and before enactment of this bill.

To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve dependency and indemnity

compensation for survivors of certain totally disabled veterans (H.R.464) - HVAC

Introduced in the House 01/10/2019, Sponsor Rep. Walter Jones (passed away)

Assuming First Sponsorship 09/24/2019 - Rep Troy Balderson (R-OH-12) asked

unanimous consent that he may hereafter be considered as the first sponsor of the bill for

the purpose of adding cosponsors, 6 current co-sponsors

Improves dependency and indemnity compensation for survivors of certain totally

disabled veterans.

Requires VA to treat a notification of the death of a veteran rated totally disabled at the

time of death as a claim by the veteran's surviving spouse and children for Dependency

and Indemnity Compensation benefits. The VA may not require that such spouse and

children file a claim for such benefits.


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Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. is a non-profit 501(C)4 National Military Widow/Widowers Service Organization chartered by the United States Congress. Donations are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes but may be deductible as trade or business expenses.

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