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  • 7 Jul 2021 11:00 PM | Nancy Menagh (Administrator)

    Please go to the list of white pages to find the July 2021 GSW Fact Sheet for the DIC increase.   We can do this!

  • 23 Jun 2021 11:08 AM | Nancy Menagh (Administrator)

    House 3402 Letter of Support.docx

    Please use this letter as your starting point.  Add the name of your Representative and add a little bit of YOUR story!


  • 23 Jun 2021 11:05 AM | Nancy Menagh (Administrator)

    Senate S976 Letter of Support_Versionv2.docx

    Please use this letter as your start, add the name of your Senator and add a little about YOUR story.  

  • 26 Apr 2021 6:26 PM | Nancy Menagh (Administrator)

    117TH CONGRESS

    1ST SESSION S. 976

    To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve and to expand eligibility

    for dependency and indemnity compensation paid to certain survivors

    of certain veterans, and for other purposes.

    IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

    MARCH 25, 2021

    Mr. TESTER (for himself and Mr. BOOZMAN) introduced the following bill;

    which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

    A BILL

    To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve and to expand eligibility for dependency and indemnity compensation paid to certain survivors of certain veterans, and for other purposes.

    1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

    3 SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    4 This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Caring for Survivors Act of 2021’’.

    SEC. 2. INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF DEPENDENCY AND INDEMNITY COMPENSATION FOR SURVIVING SPOUSES.

    4 (a) INCREASE.—Section 1311(a) of title 38, United States Code, is amended in paragraph (1), by striking ‘‘of $1,154’’ and inserting ‘‘equal to 55 percent of the rate

    7 of monthly compensation in effect under section 1114(j) of this title’’.

    9 (b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—

    10 (1) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided by paragraph (2), the amendments made by subsection (a) shall apply with respect to compensation paid under  chapter 13 of title 38, United States Code, for  months beginning after the date that is six months  after the date of the enactment of this Act.

    16 (2) SPECIAL RULE FOR CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS.—

    18 (A) IN GENERAL.—For months beginning after the date that is six months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall pay to an individual described in subparagraph (B) dependents and survivors income security benefit under section 1311 of title 38, United States Code, in the monthly amount that is the greater of the following:

    • S 976 IS

    1 (i) The amount determined under subsection (a)(3) of such section 1311, as in

    effect on the day before the date of the enactment of this Act.

    5 (ii) The amount determined under subsection (a)(1) of such section 1311, as

    7 amended by subsection (a).

    8 (B) INDIVIDUALS DESCRIBED.—An individual described in this subparagraph is an individual eligible for dependents and survivors income security benefit under section 1311 of title 38, United States Code, that is predicated  on the death of a veteran before January 1, 1993.

    15 SEC. 3. MODIFICATION OF REQUIREMENTS FOR DEPENDENCY AND INDEMNITY COMPENSATION FOR SURVIVORS OF CERTAIN VETERANS RATED TOTALLY DISABLED AT TIME OF DEATH.

    19 Section 1318 of title 38, United States Code, is amended—

    21 (1) in subsection (a)— (A) by striking ‘‘The Secretary’’ and inserting ‘‘(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the Secretary’’; and

    • 1 (B) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

    3 ‘‘(2) In any case in which the Secretary makes a payment under paragraph (1) of this subsection by reason

    5 of subsection (b)(1) and the period of continuous rating immediately preceding death is less than 10 years, the amount payable under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be an amount that bears the same relationship to the amount otherwise payable under such paragraph as the duration of such period bears to 10 years.’’; and (2) in subsection (b)(1), by striking ‘‘10 or more years’’ and inserting ‘‘five or more years’’.



  • 13 Jan 2021 6:41 PM | Nancy Menagh (Administrator)

    As we begin 2021 and the beginning of the 117th Congress, I wanted to send a note to discuss some of the legislative accomplishments for the Gold Star Wives of America during the last year of the 116th Congress. The Government Relations Committee (GRC) has been busy promoting our legislative priorities, making phone calls and writing letters to Members of Congress; while informing the members of GSW of the progress on our priorities.

    Following up on success after years of pushing for the elimination of the SBP-DIC offset, we have had other significant wins this year. I’d like to highlight a few of these accomplishments:

    Remarriage Penalty: One of our top legislative priorities has been to change the DIC remarriage age from 57 to 55, which makes it the same as other federal survivor programs.  This huge accomplishment has happened, thanks in large part to Senator Tester, and his staff.  I’m proud of the work that GSW has done over the years to help make this a reality..

    Cheryl Lankford Memorial Act: As many of you are aware, Cheryl Lankford, an active member of our organization for many years, lost her battle with cancer. The Cheryl Lankford Memorial Act ensures that Casualty Assistance Officers are assigned to dependent children of surviving spouses who have passed.

    Agent Orange Exposure: Through our work with the TEAM Coalition (a group of veterans and military service organizations), three new diseases from Agent Orange exposure were added to the VA list of presumptive conditions including hypothyroidism, bladder cancer, and Parkinson disease.

    There were more successes, such as the expanded eligibility for the Fry Scholarship; creating protections against predatory groups for those using their GI Bill benefits; and addressing the issues for surviving spouses of Veterans with underlying service-connected health issues, who died of COVID-19.

    As we continue to work and introduce our legislative priorities for the 117th Congress, I want to assure you that increasing the DIC for all recipients is our number one priority. As legislation is introduced, we will be sure to make you all aware of the bill numbers so that you can help us by reaching out to your Members of Congress. As always, thanks for your support and commitment to our legislative priorities.

    Let’s make 2021 another successful year!

    Lars Anderson

    Washington DC Advocate for

    Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.


  • 24 Aug 2020 5:23 PM | Nancy Menagh (Administrator)

    DIC Improvement Act of 2019: S.1047

    26 Apr 2019 3:28 PM | Maia Stanhope

    DIC Improvement Act of 2019: S. 1047

    WE NEED YOUR VOICE!

    Now is the time for action and we need your help. We have a chance to encourage our Senators to pass Bill S.1047 which would increase DIC

    What is Bill S. 1047?

    During the 116th Congress, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced a free standing bill, entitled Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Improvement  Act of 2019:  S. 1047 which will increase the DIC for survivors from 43% ($1319.04) to 55% ($1681.42) of a single 100% disabled veteran’s compensation * (currently $3057.13).  This bill, if passed into law, will cause no further increase to the SBP/DIC offset.  Bringing DIC compensation to 55% would provide parity with other Federal survivor programs.  For most of us this would be an increase of around $300.

    *2001 Public Law 107-107 states a deceased service member is the equivalent of 100% disabled, which is why the increase used is compared to a single 100% disabled veteran’s compensation.

    Why does S. 1047 matter to me?

    The latest statistics from the Veterans Benefit Administration Annual Benefits Report of Fiscal Year 2018, updated as of September 30, 2018, indicates that 422,979 surviving spouses receive DIC. They represent 95.90% of total DIC recipients. (The other DIC recipients are children and parents who number: 17,402 or 4.10%). If S.1047 is passed, it means that each of us will get approximately $300 per month in addition to the DIC we currently receive.

    How can I help?

                    We have just two years to tell our Senators to get this bill passed before we would have to start all over again with a new Senate. You can help by contacting your Senators and urging them to co-sponsor and VOTE for S.1047.

    How do I contact my Senators?

                    Call:      (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senator.

    What do I say?

                    My name is ______________. I am the military widow of ________________who was KIA in _______________ or died of a service connected disability related to____________ while in service to this country. I am a member of the Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. I am requesting that you agree to co-sponsor and VOTE for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Improvement Act of 2019: S. 1047.

    It is a Bill that will increase the Military Surviving Spouses’ compensation known as DIC to be at the same percentage (55%) of compensation that a Federal Employee’s Surviving spouse receives. DIC has not had an increase except for COLA since 1993. The income of many of these older surviving spouses is only from DIC and perhaps a little Social Security.  Thank you for your time and attention to my request.


  • 24 Aug 2020 5:22 PM | Nancy Menagh (Administrator)

    HR 3221, the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Improvement Act of 2019

    26 Jun 2019 9:44 AMMembership Office (Administrator)

    On June 12th of this year, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes of Connecticut introduced the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Improvement Act of 2019 with bill number HR 3221. This bill will create a fund to pay additional money to those who receive DIC payments so that the total compensation is equal to 55% of a single 100% disabled veteran’s compensation and would bring parity with other federal survivor programs. 

    This legislation was introduced in the 116th session of Congress, which means we have until the end of December 2020 to get this done; which also means we need your help now. Below is a draft letter that you can send to your Member of the House of Representatives asking them to support this legislation.


    Letter for House of Representatives


    The Honorable (Insert Name of Representative)
    Address

    Dear Representative XXXX,

    My name is XXXXX and I am a Member of the Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. As you may know, the Gold Star Wives is a national organization that represents those of us who have lost a spouse in the service of our country. I would like to thank you for your service to our nation as my Representative and for hearing my concerns.

    I wanted to bring to your attention, and seek support for HR 3221, the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Improvement Act of 2019.

    This bill is critical to surviving spouses. I’d like to tell you why it is important to me.

    The bill would create a fund to ensure that those of us who receive DIC payments would get compensation equal to the compensation paid to other federal employee spouses. The fact that military widows are not paid the same as other federal government spouses is not fair. As it stands right now, DIC recipients, on average, only receive 43% of a single 100% disabled veteran’s compensation. This bill would create a separate fund that would bring the total compensation to surviving spouses up to 55%, which is on par with other federal survivor programs.


    Now is the time to fulfill the promise made to those of us who have sacrificed along with our loved ones. Thank you so much for your time. If you, or your veteran’s affairs staffer would like more information, we have an advocate in Washington, D.C. His name is Lars Anderson and he can be reached at lars.goldstarwives@gmail.com.

    Thank you.

     



  • 10 Jul 2020 12:23 PM | Nancy Menagh (Administrator)

    CURRENT SURVIVOR LEGISLATION 2019-2020

    A bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to secure medical opinions for veterans

    with service-connected disabilities who die from COVID-19 to determine whether their

    service-connected disabilities were the principal or contributory cases of death, and for

    other purposes ( S.4166) – SVAC

    Introduced in the Senate 07/02/2020, Sponsor: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ),

    Co-Sponsor: Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)

    Requires VA Secretary to secure medical opinions for veterans with service-connected

    disabilities who die from COVID-19 to determine whether their service-connected

    disabilities were the principal or contributory cases of death.

    Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Improvement Act of 2019 ( H.R.3221/S.1047) -

    SVAC/HVAC

    Introduced in the Senate 04/04/2019, Sponsor: Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), Co-sponsors:

    Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), 4 current co-sponsors

    Introduced in the House 06/12/2019, Sponsor: Johanna Hayes (), Co-Sponsors: Rep.

    Derek Kilmer (D-WA-6), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-At Large), Rep. Lance

    Gooden (R-TX-5), Rep. James Himes (D-CT-4), Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA-7), 19 current

    co-sponsors

    Creates an allowance for a deceased veteran's or deceased service member's surviving

    spouse who is receiving dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) from the

    Department of Veterans Affairs.

    The bill provides a formula for calculating the monthly rate of the allowance based on the

    DIC amount the spouse is entitled to receive.

    Raises DIC to 55 percent of the rate of monthly compensation

    Leasing Relief for Dependents of Fallen Heroes and Injured Servicemembers Act of 2020

    (S.3854) - SVAC

    Introduced in the Senate 06/01/2020, Sponsor: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA),

    Co-Sponsor: Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

    Clarifies the termination of leases of premises and motor vehicles of servicemembers

    who incur catastrophic injury or illness or die while in military service.

    Caring for Survivors Act of 2020 (H.R.6933) - HVAC

    Introduced in the House 05/19/2020, Sponsor: Rep. TJ Cox (D-CA-21), Co-Sponsors

    Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-CA-39), Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL-3), Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ-2),

    Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT-5), 14 current co-sponsors

    Increase in the amount of dependents and survivors income security benefit payable to

    surviving spouses by the secretary of veterans affairs equal to 55 percent of the rate of

    monthly compensation of 100 percent disabled.

    Modification of requirements for dependents and survivors income security benefit

    payable by department of veterans affairs for survivors of certain veterans rated totally

    disabled at time of death from 10 or more years to 5 or more years.

    Eligibility for dependents and survivors income security benefit payable by department of

    veterans affairs for surviving spouses who remarry after age 55.

    To amend title 10, United States Code, to extend certain morale, welfare, and recreation

    privileges to recipients of the gold star lapel button (H.R.6412) - HASC

    Introduced in the House 03/27/2020, Sponsor: Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL-26),

    Co-Sponsors: Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ-3), Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL-4), 10 co-sponsors

    An individual who received a gold star lapel button under section 1126 of this title shall

    be permitted to use commissary stores and MWR retail facilities on the same basis as a

    member of the armed forces on active duty.

    Justice for ALS Veterans Act of 2019 ( H.R.4748/S.3091) - HVAC

    Introduced in the House 10/18/2019, Sponsor: Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-CA-39),

    Co-Sponsor: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1), 8 current co-sponsors

    Introduced in the Senate 12/18/2019, Sponsor: Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE),

    Co-Sponsor: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

    Increases Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) to the surviving spouse of a

    veteran who dies from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease)

    regardless of how long the veteran had such disease prior to death. Under current law,

    such compensation is paid for a service-connected disability that was rated totally

    disabling for a continuous period of at least eight years immediately preceding death.

    Protecting Gold Star Families Education Act (S.1851) - Referred to Committee on Health,

    Education, Labor, and Pensions

    Introduced in the Senate 06/13/2019, Sponsor: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Co-Sponsors:

    Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)

    Makes permanent and expands the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant that surviving

    children are eligible for if they are above the Department of Education Pell Grant limits.

    To qualify for assistance, dependents must be less than 33 years of age.

    Pell Grant rules pertaining to the determination of financial need do not apply to the grants

    awarded by this bill for veterans' dependents. Honoring All Veterans Act (H.R.3010) - HVAC

    Introduced in House 05/23/2019, Sponsor: Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY-4), 42 original

    co-sponsors, 58 current co-sponsors

    Adds the following as a mission statement for the Department of Veterans Affairs: "To

    fulfill President Lincoln's promise to care for those 'who shall have borne the battle' and

    for their families, caregivers, and survivors.”

    Veterans Estate Transfer to Survivors Act (H.R.2736) - Referred to Subcommittee on Disability

    Assistance and Memorial Affairs - DAMA

    Introduced in the House 05/14/2019, Sponsor: Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1), no co-sponsors

    Clarifies that the estate of a deceased veteran may receive certain accrued benefits upon

    the death of the veteran.

    Fry Scholarship Improvement Act of 2019 (H.R.2221/S.1283) - HVAC/SVAC

    Introduced in the House 04/10/2019, Sponsor: Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12),

    Co-Sponsor: Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA-49), 2 co-sponsors

    Introduced in the Senate 05/02/2019, Sponsor: Sen. James Lankford (R-OK),

    Co-Sponsor: Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE)

    Expands Fry Scholarship eligibility to surviving spouses and children of National Guard

    and Reservists who are not activated at the time of death.

    CHAMPVA Children's Care Protection Act of 2019 ( H.R.2094/S.1034) - Referred to

    Subcommittee on Health/SVAC

    Introduced in the House 04/04/2019, Sponsor: Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), 11

    current co-sponsors

    Introduced in the Senate 04/04/2019, Sponsor: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), 10 original

    co-sponsors, 12 current co-sponsors

    Provides that a child shall be eligible for medical care under the Civilian Health and

    Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) until the child's

    26th birthday, regardless of the child's marital status.

    SFC Brian Woods Gold Star and Military Survivors Act (H.R.1911) - HASC/HVAC

    Introduced in the House 03/27/2019, Sponsor: Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL-6),

    Co-Sponsors: Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA-6), Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE-2), 35 co-sponsors

    Expands benefits for survivors of members of the Armed Forces.

    Provides commissary and exchange privileges to a remarried former spouse.

    Provides continued eligibility for payment of an annuity to a spouse who remarries,

    including a surviving spouse who remarried before the age of 55 and before enactment of

    this bill.

    Allows payment of necessary expenses for the transportation of a decedent's remains to

    two locations (if the second is a national cemetery.

    Allows payment of financial assistance to civilian providers of child care or youth

    program services furnished to survivors of members who die in the line of duty while on

    active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training.

    Provides continued eligibility of a remarried surviving spouse for payment of veterans'

    dependency and indemnity compensation, including a surviving spouse who remarried

    before the age of 57 and before enactment of this bill.

    To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve dependency and indemnity

    compensation for survivors of certain totally disabled veterans (H.R.464) - HVAC

    Introduced in the House 01/10/2019, Sponsor Rep. Walter Jones (passed away)

    Assuming First Sponsorship 09/24/2019 - Rep Troy Balderson (R-OH-12) asked

    unanimous consent that he may hereafter be considered as the first sponsor of the bill for

    the purpose of adding cosponsors, 6 current co-sponsors

    Improves dependency and indemnity compensation for survivors of certain totally

    disabled veterans.

    Requires VA to treat a notification of the death of a veteran rated totally disabled at the

    time of death as a claim by the veteran's surviving spouse and children for Dependency

    and Indemnity Compensation benefits. The VA may not require that such spouse and

    children file a claim for such benefits.


  • 14 May 2020 4:02 PM | Membership Office (Administrator)

    Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) led a bipartisan call to Congressional leadership to lower prescription drug costs for TRICARE beneficiaries by eliminating copays on mail order prescription drugs through the next Coronavirus relief package.  Read more about this effort at Insider NJ.

  • 17 Dec 2019 4:14 PM | Membership Office (Administrator)

    Update from MOAA: Senate Repeals Widows Tax, Sends NDAA to President for Signature 

    Excerpt: 

    The Senate on Tuesday voted to repeal the “widows tax,” a financial penalty affecting over 65,000 military survivors across the country. The measure passed as part of the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

    The House voted to repeal the widows tax Dec. 11. The measure now heads to the White House for President Donald Trump to sign. In a tweet on Dec. 11, Trump indicated he would sign the bill. “Congress – don’t delay this anymore! I will sign this historic defense legislation immediately!”

    See the full article here: 

    https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2019-news-articles/advocacy/senate-repeals-widows-tax,-sends-ndaa-to-president-for-signature/

    Another MOAA article includes more information on this legislation as well as a picture of integral GSW members Kristy DiDomenico and Edie Smith. Link:

    https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2019-news-articles/advocacy/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-widows-tax-repeal-included-in-the-ndaa/
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Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. is a non-profit 501(C)4 National Military Widow/Widowers Service Organization chartered by the United States Congress. Donations are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes but may be deductible as trade or business expenses. Copyright © 2021.

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