Sending Office: Honorable Peter A. DeFazio
Stop the VA from Penalizing Deceased Veterans’ Surviving Spouses: Cosponsor the Bipartisan Veterans Survivor Comfort Act
Current Original Cosponsors (15): Reps. Cole, Gabbard, Jackson Lee, H. Johnson, Jones, Lofgren, Pearce, Peterson, Pingree, Rosen, Shea-Porter, Turner, F. Wilson, Velázquez, Wittman
Today, when a veteran dies, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is notified in order to ensure their records are updated and any future payments are appropriately redirected or stopped.
In most cases, a veteran’s surviving spouse is entitled to the veteran’s last month’s benefit or disability payment. However, in many cases the VA electronically withdraws the last payment automatically from the veteran’s bank account without proper notice
upon learning of the death. The VA then makes the surviving spouse apply for the payment regardless of whether or not they are automatically eligible for it. It can often take the VA months to confirm the surviving spouses’ eligibility and then issue the payment.
The withdrawal of VA payments can cause significant financial strain to a surviving spouse, including the inability to pay essential bills, such as mortgages and medical bills. This is on top of the fact that the surviving spouse is already facing the prospect
of additional costs associated with their loved one’s death as well as the emotional grief that accompanies this difficult time.
The Veterans Survivor Comfort Act would prohibit the VA from retroactively withdrawing the benefit or disability payment from eligible surviving spouses.
We urge you to become an original cosponsor of this important, bipartisan legislation to ensure that the VA does not inflict additional financial and emotional strain on surviving spouses as they grapple with the loss of a loved one.
Peter A. DeFazio Walter B. Jones
Member of Congress Member of Congress
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