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Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

Bill targets bolstering military survivor benefits

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Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) and Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) recently introduced a measure they said adjusts monthly benefits for family members and survivors of veterans who lost their lives in service to the nation.

The Caring for Survivors Act of 2021 seeks to bring payments to Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) recipients in line with payments to surviving spouses of other federal employees.

“Families who lost their loved ones in the line of duty or from a service-related injury shouldn’t have to worry about their economic security,” Tester said. “Our bipartisan bill will fix outdated policies, bringing surviving spouses and family members’ earned benefits in line with other federal programs. And it’ll reduce bureaucratic red tape to ensure no survivor is unfairly kept from the benefits they need in the future.”

The lawmakers indicated the rate of compensation paid to survivors of service members who die in the line of duty or veterans who die from service-related injuries or diseases have been minimally adjusted since its establishment in 1993. DIC payments presently lag behind other programs’ payments by nearly 12 percent.

“Increasing DIC benefits for military survivors to match benefits provided by other federal survivor programs will help us continue to honor the promise we made to servicemembers and their families,” Boozman said. “Our bill will allow us to better care for the loved ones of troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”