Did you know that If a Gold Star spouse remarries before turning 55, he/she would lose thousands of dollars a month because of a law that would stop annuity payments when they remarry? That's what Military.com is saying ...
Three combat veterans in the House of Representatives want to change that law and allow military widows and widowers to retain their survivor benefit payments if they remarry – a proposal spouses say would let them raise their families and retain a connection they want to the military.
The bill, H.R. 1911, or the Sgt. First Class Brian Woods Gold Star and Military Survivors Act, would also extend child care assistance to surviving spouses and give continued access to base facilities such commissaries, exchanges and fitness centers to those with dependent children who remarry .
And it includes a provision to cover the cost of transporting the bodies of those killed in combat to their hometowns for services and later, to a national cemetery, if the family requests it. Currently, the government pays for only one trip.
This legislation is needed, said co-sponsor Michael Waltz, R-Florida, because it would ensure that "Gold Star families of our fallen are cared for by giving their children and spouses the lifelong benefits they deserve."
"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 in a release. "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."
"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," said Rep. Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts Democrat and co-sponsor.
The bill is named for Woods, a Special Forces senior medical sergeant and former Marine who served with Waltz. He died Aug. 16, 2009, from wounds received during a patrol in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, and was survived by his wife Elizabeth and two young daughters, one aged 5 and the other 8 months at his death.
Retired Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Joe Kent lost his wife, Navy Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon Kent, in a suicide bomb attack in Manbij, Syria, this past January. As a military retiree, he will retain access to military bases and health care for life. But he was stunned to learn during the course of his casualty assistance communications, that he – and all surviving spouses – lose monthly income if they remarry. He said the law itself reads like something "straight out of the 1950s".
"If a woman remarries, the guy she marries is now responsible for her. It's that kind of mentality," Kent said. "If you look at the stats, most are women widowed in their 20s, so you are telling a young lady, with maybe a kid or two, she will be financially penalized."
Let's get behind this legislation - please contact your respective representatives and ask them to co-sponsor this bill.
The main purpose of this blog is to bring awareness to America's missing from past wars and conflicts either as a Prisoner of War, or Missing in Action. We also include Contractors, Law Enforcement Officers and civilians being held in known terrorist countries.
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