Current Legislation 116th Congress
116th (2019-2020) Congressional Legislation of Interest to GSW
Dependent Indemnity Compensation (DIC):
DIC has only been increased by Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) since 1993. GSW is looking for a primary sponsor and passage of a bill to increase DIC to the 55% level; this would make DIC equitable with other Federal employee survivor benefit plans. The GRC of GSW is currently working with Senator Tester’s office to introduce a “stand alone” bill to correct this inequity.
Even a “Sunset Provision” would be favorable. This would mean a gradual increase over a period of time. For example: a 3% increase every year for 10 years. The monthly DIC is payable to surviving spouses by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Survivor Benefit Pension/DIC Offset (SBP/DIC):
H.R. 553: Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act was introduced in the House by Representative Joe Wilson (D-SC) and S.622: as introduced in the Senate by Senator Doug Jones (R-AL). Both bills are: “To amend title 10, United States Code, to repeal the requirement for reduction of survivor annuities under the Survivor Benefit Plan by veterans’ dependency and indemnity compensation.” S.622 is a companion bill for H.R. 553. GSW supports their passage.
Change in GSW’s Federal Charter:
US code: Title 36>Subtitle II>Part B Section 80507, Restrictions: b) Political Activities: The corporation, or director or officer as such may not contribute in any political activity or in any manner attempt to influence legislation. GSW wishes to eliminate the last few words of Section80507 (b) “in any manner attempt to influence legislation.” GSW is currently looking for a House and Senate sponsor.
Public Law No: 115-48 (08/16/2017)
Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017
This bill revises education and related benefits provided to veterans, service members, dependents, and survivors.
The bill amends the Post-9/11 veterans' educational assistance program to:
- remove certain time restrictions on program use;
- increase assistance for reservists, guardsmen, dependents, and surviving spouses and dependents;
- provide full eligibility for Post-9/11 Purple Heart recipients and certain reservists and guardsmen;
- provide an extra academic years' worth of benefits for STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) degree candidates;
- establish a five-year pilot program for high technology courses;
- restore eligibility for service members whose school closes in the middle of a semester;
- authorize funding to improve claims processing;
- permit assistance to be used at certain institutions that are not institutions of higher education; and
- pro-rate the housing stipend for reservists called to active duty.
The bill authorizes the Edith Nurse Rogers STEM Scholarship to help veterans complete STEM degrees.
The Yellow Ribbon program is extended to Fry Scholarship recipients (surviving dependents of service members who died on active duty) and certain Purple Heart recipients. (The Yellow Ribbon program helps veterans pay for higher education tuition and fee costs not covered by the Post-9/11 program.)
The bill: (1) extends the Advisory Committee on Education, (2) increases survivors' and dependents' educational assistance, and (3) extends funding for state educational program approving agencies.
The bill provides statutory authority for the VetSuccess on Campus program, which provides veterans with on-campus educational and vocational counseling.
The Department of Veterans Affairs shall make a new determination regarding each denied veteran's claim for disability compensation in connection with full-body exposure to mustard gas or Lewisite at specified locations during World War II and resolve reasonable doubt in favor of the veteran.