Mr. President, I am pleased to support this important and timely amendment.
This amendment will go far to ease the financial burden that is placed on a servicemember and his or her loved ones as a result of traumatic injury. Between $25,000 and $100,000 will be paid to servicemembers who suffer such injuries based on severity of injury.
Servicemembers and their families face heavy financial burdens while hospitalized, and prior to being medically discharged from the military. This effort will help lessen the burden that exists on servicemembers and their families before VA benefits kick in.
Importantly, to qualify for this necessary benefit, our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines do not have to do any additional paperwork. They are automatically enrolled in this program by virtue of being a participant in the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance Program.
The insurance premium will cost the servicemember approximately $1 a month and will be determined by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
This insurance policy is meant to supplement, and not take the place of, existing DoD and VA benefits. This amendment is intended to fill a gap: assistance to servicemembers and their families during recovery from a traumatic injury. In no way should anyone view this as a precedence for shifting costs to a servicemember.