WASHINGTON – Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee member Maggie Hassan (D-NH) cosponsored bipartisan legislation to adjust monthly benefits for family members and survivors of service members who lost their lives in service to our country – or veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.
The bipartisan Caring for Survivors Act of 2021 aims to bring payments to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) recipients in line with payments to surviving spouses of other Federal employees. 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—has been minimally adjusted since its establishment in 1993. DIC payments currently lag behind other programs’ payments by nearly 12 percent.
“Our military families make immeasurable sacrifices, and we have a responsibility to provide economic security for those who have lost a loved one in the line of duty or other service-related injuries. On the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I’m working to make sure that we keep our promises to our veterans and that includes supporting military families. This bill is a commonsense fix to an outdated program, and I’m honored to join Senators Tester and Boozman in this bipartisan effort,” said Senator Hassan.
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 of 2021 would also reduce the timeframe a veteran needs to be rated totally disabled from ten to five years—broadening eligibility to more survivors.
This bipartisan effort is part of Senator Hassan’s ongoing work to strengthen support for veterans. This Spring, Senator Hassan’s bipartisan legislation to help veterans during their transition to civilian life passed out of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee on which she serves. Earlier this year, President Biden signed into law the PAWS Act, legislation Senator Hassan supported, to expand access to service dogs for veterans. Senator Hassan also helped secure key priorities for Granite State veterans in the bipartisan veterans package that was signed into law, including the Deborah Sampson Act, which Senator Hassan joined in introducing to eliminate barriers to care and services that many women veterans face.
Text of the bill can be found HERE.