WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) held a virtual meeting with members of the Arkansas Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and expressed his support for the organization’s 2021 legislative priorities, including helping families of veterans who passed away as a result of the coronavirus and providing disabled veterans full military benefits.
Boozman has joined members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to reintroduce the Ensuring Survivor Benefits During COVID Act, a bipartisan bill that would provide proper benefits to family members of veterans who die from the coronavirus. Currently, a veteran who passes away from COVID-19 may have their death listed as “COVID-19” without accounting for service-connected disabilities that were contributing factors.
The senator also helped reintroduce the Major Richard Star Act, a bipartisan bill to provide combat-injured veterans with less than 20 years of military service their full benefits.
Currently, 42,000 military retirees with combat-related injuries qualify for retirement pay from the Department of Defense and for disability compensation for injuries acquired in combat from the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, for retired veterans with less than 20 years of service, their disability pay is deducted from their retirement pay. The Major Richard Star Act would repeal this unfair offset, allowing disabled veterans to receive both their retirement pay and their disability compensation.
“The VFW is a leader in advancing the interests of veterans and strengthening services and benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. I look forward to continue working with Arkansas VFW members to ensure veterans receive the benefits they earned,” said Boozman, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “I am committed to improving veteran benefits and working with my colleagues to pass the Ensuring Survivor Benefits During COVID Act and the Major Richard Star Act.”
“Senator Boozman has been a strong supporter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and its congressional priorities over the past several years. This year is no exception, he has guaranteed us that he will be taking a lead on the Ensuring Survivor Benefits During COVID Act and the Major Richard Star Act. Arkansas veterans can always count on Senator Boozman to have their backs and to be big voice in Washington, D.C. on their behalf,” said Patrick O. Flenniken, Department of Arkansas VFW National Legislative Committee Member.
“Due to a compassionate resolve, coupled with an assiduous work ethic, Senator Boozman is regarded as a champion for Arkansas veterans. We appreciate his support for critical legislation supported by the VFW that will expand benefits for veterans,” said Tanya Taylor, Department of Arkansas VFW State Chaplain.
Boozman meets annually with Arkansas VFW members in Washington, D.C. in advance of Veteran Service Organization legislative presentations to Congress. Due to COVID-19, the meeting and hearings this year are being conducted virtually.