WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) led the House introduction of bipartisan legislation to adjust monthly benefits for family members and survivors of veterans who lost their lives in service to the United States. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont) and Senator John Boozman (R-Ark) are leading the companion bill in the U.S. Senate.

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 bipartisan 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. 

“I am committed to honoring our service members by ensuring their families can access the benefits they have earned,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “The outdated policies surrounding VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation have created unbearable stress for surviving families. The Caring for Survivors Act increases those benefits, reduces barriers to access, and lessens the financial burden placed on veterans, service members, and the families they have left behind. Congress must continue to keep our promise to our service members and support their families.” 

“Families and loved ones of veterans who lost their lives should not be burdened with worries about their financial security. An increase to Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits is long overdue,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “The bipartisan Caring for Survivors Act will give better resources and care to the loved ones of those who lost their lives in service to our nation, and I’m proud to be a co-lead on this important legislation.”

“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 Senator 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 That’s why I’m introducing a bipartisan bill to fix outdated policies and bring surviving spouses and family members’ earned benefits in line with other federal programs—ensuring survivors receive the benefits they need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.” 

“We must better care for the loved ones of troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Senator Boozman. “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.”

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.