Washington – Today, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes introduced bipartisan legislation to better support spouses and children who have lost a loved one in service to this country. The families of service members who died in the line of duty, and of disabled veterans who died from a service-connected condition, receive a monthly Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Benefit from the VA. Hayes’ Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Improvement Act (H.R. 3221) will give these families an additional $300 per month. This allowance would bring benefits for surviving military families more in line with federal employees and the Department of Defense's Survivor Benefits Plan (SBP).
“I recently visited with Gold Star families across my district, and the offset between survivor benefits and the need for additional financial support were some of the most common issues I heard about,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “The death of a service member should never lead a family to financial hardship, and we owe it to these heroes to give their families the full benefits they have earned. This bill will help us do just that.”
Hayes’ bill also ensures survivors aren’t penalized for receiving these benefits by preventing an unfair offset that denies them the compensation to which they are entitled.
Reps. Jim Himes (CT-04), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Lance Gooden (TX-05), and Susan Wild (PA-07) are original cosponsors of this vital piece of legislation. The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. support Hayes’ bill.
“We applaud Representative Hayes for introducing the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Improvement Act in the 116th Congress,” said DAV National Commander Dennis Nixon. “DAV strongly supports this legislation that provides greater support to deserving survivors of disabled veterans. A veteran’s lifelong disability or service-related death can result in undue economic hardship on their spouse and children; this legislation increases financial support for them after the passing of their loved one. We’re grateful for Representative Hayes’ advocacy on behalf of service-connected disabled veterans and their families.”
“I am grateful and very thankful that Representative Hayes is willing to bring attention to those surviving spouses that have fallen far behind other federal programs and therefore have not gotten the full benefit of the ultimate sacrifice that our service members made” said Crystal Wenum, National President of Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. “We think this is an issue that spans partisan politics and should bring well deserved parity with other federal survivor programs. It is the right thing to do and I applaud Representative Hayes for her courage in bringing attention to the DIC issue and her willingness to help the many surviving spouses who are desperately in need of a DIC increase.”