WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Doug Jones today led a press conference alongside military family advocates and his colleagues Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) to highlight the urgent need to pass his bipartisan legislation to end the military “Widow’s Tax” that prevents surviving military spouses from receiving the full survivor benefits to which they are entitled.
As of today, Senator Jones’ Military Widow’s Tax Elimination Act has earned an unprecedented 69 sponsors, which means it has a veto-proof level of support in the Senate.
“We’re here today to fight for our military families whose loved ones gave all on behalf of a grateful nation. We are here to call for the passage of our bill – to finally pass this legislation in recognition of the tremendous sacrifices these families make every day,” said Senator Jones, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “As we all prepare to honor these men and women this coming Monday for Memorial Day, let our actions here in Congress speak louder than our words.”
The bipartisan group of senators was joined at the press conference by surviving military spouses and advocates for military families, including members of The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).
“This is the issue has gone unresolved way too long, and it’s easy for us to start thinking that the people in Washington just don’t care about our families – but I’m so grateful that my senator from Alabama, Senator Jones, has taken the lead to correct this egregious inequity. And because of his efforts and the efforts of others here, we’re seeing more effort on this issue than we’ve ever seen before. And I can tell you, that it makes us be filled with hope,” said Cathy Milford, a retired teacher from Mobile, Alabama, whose husband passed away unexpectedly shortly after he retired from military service.
“Families of America’s fallen have sacrificed, and we should not be kept waiting any longer,” said Bonnie Carroll, President, and Founder of TAPS, the surviving spouse of Army Brig. Gen. Tom Carroll, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“More than 65,000 military spouses and dependents are unjustly penalized because their loved one made the ultimate sacrifice for our country… Congress must end this injustice,” said Carlos Fuentes, National Legislative Director for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
The legislation would repeal the unfair law that prevents as many as 65,000 surviving military spouses nationwide from receiving their full Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) survivor benefits. Currently, military widows and widowers who qualify for the VA’s Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) are forced to take prorated annuities from the Survivors Benefits Plan (SBP), even though they elected to pay into the program.
Courtesy: Senator Doug Jones Press Release