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Moulton, Other Veterans In Congress Propose Enhancing Benefits To Gold Star Families

Apr 04, 2019 11:13AM

WASHINGTON – Representative Michael Waltz (FL-R), a combat veteran and member of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation with Representatives Seth Moulton (MA-D) and Don Bacon (NE-R) that would increase benefits for Gold Star families.

The SFC Brian Woods Gold Star and Military Survivors Act (H.R.1911) is named in honor of Army Sgt. 1st Class William B. Woods Jr. who served with Waltz as an Army Green Beret and was killed on August 16, 2009 in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. 

The bill would:

  • Allow survivors that re-married to continue to have access to on-base facilities if they have dependent children; 
  • Allow surviving spouses of service members who were killed while on duty to continue to receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) or Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) insurance should they re-marry and ensures survivors that re-married before the bill becomes law are eligible to collect benefits moving forward; 
  • Direct the Pentagon to pay the transportation costs of remains for those killed in combat back to their hometown for any memorial services and to a national cemetery of the surviving family’s choice (current law only authorizes one trip, meaning families must often choose between a funeral in their community or at a National Cemetery far from home); and
  • Authorize the Pentagon to extend the existing child care service assistance program (for civilian providers) to survivors of servicemembers that die in the line of duty. 

“The knock on the door that initiates a family into the Gold Star community is the most dreaded moment in a military family’s life,” Waltz said. “From that moment forward, these families deserve our best and most meaningful commitment in honor of their loved one’s sacrifice for our freedom and security. This bill would ensure the Gold Star families of our fallen are cared for by giving their children and spouses the lifelong benefits they deserve and transportation costs for a burial and memorial worthy of their sacrifice.”

“When Gold Star spouses are handed a folded flag, it comes with a sacred commitment from the American people. That commitment is for life,” said Moulton. “That means Gold Star families should have the peace of mind that comes with knowing child care and funeral expenses are taken care of, and that they will receive the nation’s lifelong financial support.” 

“Our Gold Star and surviving family members deserve a commitment for life,” Bacon said. “The SFC Brian Woods Gold Star and Military Survivors Act keeps faith with the spouses and families of the fallen. Since becoming a Member of Congress I have committed myself to this cause. This legislation builds on the important progress we made last year and I am proud to co-sponsor this important next step with fellow veteran Representative Waltz.”  

A PDF of the bill is available here.

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