GSW Legislative Goals 2021-2022
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 and Sen Boozman introduced "Caring for Survivors Act of 2021" - S.1976 and Rep Hayes introduced the companion bill HR 34012. We are fortunate that the same title and wording of each bill was used for both the Senate and the House. These bills includes language to increase the DIC to 55% of what is received by a 100% disabled Veteran; AND to begin compensation at the 5 year mark (pro-rated) for survivor families of disabled Veterans who may die of causes which may not be directly linked to their service connected condition. It is imperative, that you continue to reach out to your representatives and senators, on a regular basis, requesting they co-sponsor these bills.
#2: Toxic Exposure: There are several pieces of legislation addressing toxic exposure and we are joining with large coalitions in support f these bills. We have given our total support to the The Honoring our Pact Act and the Cost of War Act.
#3 Suicide Prevention and Issues: We are concerned with the high numbers of suicide for both Active Duty and Veterans; AND we are concerned with the aftermath for the surviving families; including sometimes having difficulty in obtaining benefits.
#4: Education Benefits: GSW would like Congress to eliminate the time limit for surviving spouses to use the DEA Chapter 35 education benefits.
#5: Remarriage Benefits: GSW has been successful in having the remarriage age reduced from age 57 to age 55; but there is much left to be done.
#6: 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 financial cost 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.