GSW Legislative Goals 2020-2021
Our primary focus is to improve and protect existing survivor benefits and to eliminate benefit inequities. The Government Relations Committee proposes the following legislative priorities for the coming year.
#1 DIC Increase: Sen Tester introduced Dependency & Indemnity Compensation Improvement Act of 2019 – S.1047 in April 2019 and Rep Hayes introduced the companion bill HR 3221 in June 2019. We are fortunate that the same title and wording of each bill was used by both Senator Tester and Rep Hayes. By doing so, less confusion was created. It is imperative, that you continue to reach out to your representatives and senators, on a regular basis, requesting they co-sponsor this goal.
#2: Elimination of the Remarriage Penalty for Surviving Spouses: Under current law if a spouse remarries before age 57, benefits are forfeited. Our goal is to lower the age to 55. Update: We accomplished this goal December 2020!
#3: Causalities from conflicts and wars to include: exposure to Burn Pits, Suicide and other conditions such as Agent Orange identified by Congress, DOD & VA.
#4: Education Benefits: GSW would like for Congress to eliminate the time limit for surviving spouses to use the DEA Chapter 35 education benefits.
#5: Update the Federal Charter: GSW wishes to eliminate “in any manner attempt to influence legislation.” For this change, support is needed in the House and Senate. There is no fee associated with the change.
Networking: We are fortunate to continue working with The Military Coalition (TMC), Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), and the TEAM Coalition (Toxic Exposure issues), as well as representatives of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Congressional representatives, their staff and the committee staff continue to be important in our efforts. These relationships enable us to better represent Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. in efforts to serve our membership effectively.