Boozman, Tester Lead Bicameral Bill to Strengthen Earned Support for Military Survivors and Families
Feb 23 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, recently joined Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT), Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (D-CT) and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) to introduce legislation that would adjust monthly benefits for family members and survivors of veterans who lost their lives in service to our country.
The Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)—the rate of compensation paid to survivors of servicemembers who die in the line of duty or veterans who die from service-related injuries or diseases—has been minimally adjusted since its establishment in 1993. The Caring for Survivors Act of 2023 will bring parity to payments for DIC recipients, which currently lag behind other federal program payments by nearly 12 percent.
“We must better care for the loved ones of troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” Boozman said. “Updating benefits for military survivors to match those provided by other federal programs will help us continue to live up to the promises we made to our servicemembers and their families.”
“I will always defend the earned benefits and economic security of our military families who lost their loved ones in the line of service,” said Tester. “These families have endured the unimaginable and giving them more economic certainty is something everyone should support. That’s why I’m introducing a bipartisan bill to fix outdated policies and bring surviving spouses and family members’ earned benefits in line with other federal programs—ensuring survivors receive the benefits they need and have earned.”
Under current law, DIC restricts benefits for survivors if the veteran was disabled for less than ten years before his or her death. The Caring for Survivors Act would reduce the timeframe a veteran needs to be rated totally disabled from ten to five years—broadening eligibility to more survivors.
Veterans Service Organizations applauded the bipartisan effort to provide surviving spouses and family members their due benefits. The legislation is supported by Paralyzed Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, AMVETS, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors and Gold Star Wives.
“Gold Star Wives is grateful to Chairman Tester and Senator Boozman for their support of our widows/widowers of our military service members,” said Gold Star Wives President Tamra Sipes. “We are the women and men left behind. We pick up the pieces for our spouses, reinvent our lives and try to make life as normal as possible for our children. We are the true single parent families left in communities where we often don’t know anyone, we have no one to go back to, and we have to reinvent our lives. This bill for widows/widowers of our military service members acknowledges that sacrifice, and provides us with a small, but meaningful increase to assist our daily living.”