Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) announced her support for the Caring for Survivors Act of 2021 to update and improve monthly benefits for family members and survivors of veterans who lost their lives in service to our country.
The bipartisan bill would ensure that survivors of service members who die in the line of duty, and of veterans who die from service-related injuries or diseases, can access the same monthly benefits as surviving spouses of other federal employees. Currently, these survivors can access monthly Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payments, but the rate of compensation has been minimally adjusted since its establishment in 1993 and it currently lags behind other federal programs’ payments by nearly 12 percent.
“We must ensure that the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation can access critical benefits and economic security,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “It’s unacceptable that the survivors of our service members and veterans who have died in the line of duty or from service-related injuries are not receiving the same benefits as those of other federal employees. I’m proud to support this bill that will ease the burden on survivors and their families and ensure they have access to support they deserve.”
The Caring for Survivors Act of 2021, introduced by Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.), will increase DIC benefits for military survivors to match benefits provided by other federal survivor programs and reduce the timeframe a veteran needs to be rated totally disabled from ten to five years—making it more accessible to survivors.
Senator Cortez Masto is a champion in the Senate advocating for our veterans and their families. She recently introduced bipartisan legislation to make it easier for veterans who have a service-related medical condition to get the benefits they are entitled to and has held listening sessions with military spouses about the challenges they face. She has passed legislation through the annual National Defense Reauthorization Acts to help veterans exposed to Agent Orange get the treatment they need and improve the management of privatized military housing to prioritize the needs of families. As part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2021, Senator Cortez Masto secured measures to improve mental health services for members of the National Guard and Reserves, support Navy members in getting the retirement benefits owed to them, and increase the transparency and efficiency of the Department of Defense’s TRICARE medical billing practices.