WASHINGTON––U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced Gerald’s Law Act, bipartisan legislation that would expand Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) burial benefits eligibility to terminally ill veterans who pass away at a non-VA facility while receiving hospice care.
Under current law, the department will cover nearly $900 toward burial and funeral expenses only if the veteran is hospitalized at the VA at the time of death. This legislation would update that policy, ensuring veterans aren’t penalized for spending their last days in the comfort of their homes or other settings.
“Veterans who choose to live their last days at home while receiving VA hospice care deserve no less than the full burial benefit. Expanding it will allow them and their loved ones to make end-of-life decisions based on comfort, not on cost, and I’m proud to lead this effort with Sen. Peters” Boozman, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said.
“Veterans who have served and sacrificed for our country shouldn’t be denied benefits if they choose to receive hospice care outside of a VA facility,” said Peters. “This bipartisan bill would take important steps to fix the VA’s burial benefit system because we owe it to veterans and their families to ensure they can be laid to rest with dignity and respect.”
The legislation is named after a Michigan veteran who was denied the non-service connected burial and plat benefit.
Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, National Association of Veteran Service Organizations, AMVETS, Paralyzed Veterans of America, With Honor, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Gold Star Wives and The Independence Fund all support Gerald’s Law Act.Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Jack Bergman (R-MI) and Colin Allred (D-TX).