Sens. Moran, Warnock Introduce Legislation to Protect Military Spouses’ Survivor Benefits
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs – and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) today introduced the Love Lives On Act. This legislation would allow spouses of deceased servicemembers to retain their survivor benefits if they remarry. This legislation was cosponsored by Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
Currently, a surviving spouse under the age of 55 could lose survivor benefits if they remarry. The Love Lives On Act would make certain surviving spouses are able to retain their benefits from both the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD) upon remarriage at any age. The bill includes surviving spouses from active-duty, veteran and retired servicemembers.
“Military service is family service, and our country owes a great debt to the surviving spouses of fallen servicemembers,” said Sen. Moran. “As Gold Star spouses heal from their loss and choose to remarry, they should not have to worry about losing their survivors’ benefits provided by the VA and DoD.”
“The men and women in our military serve our country courageously—and their spouses serve our country, too,” said Sen. Reverend Warnock. “If one of our heroes loses their life in the line of duty, we should honor our servicemember’s sacrifice by ensuring their spouse can retain survivor benefits if they choose to remarry. I’m proud to continue leading this bipartisan effort to fulfill our promise to these patriotic military families.”
“TAPS is grateful to Senators Moran, Warnock, Cotton, Hirono, and Warren for their leadership in introducing the first comprehensive remarriage bill, the Love Lives On Act of 2023,” said Bonnie Carroll, President and Founder, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. “This important legislation will ensure surviving military spouses retain their benefits upon remarriage at any age. Being widowed should not penalize them from finding love in the future.”
This legislation is supported by 41 Veterans Service Organizations and others, including the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Gold Star Wives of America, Inc., Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), The American Legion and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).
The Love Lives On Act would:
- Allow surviving spouses to retain Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) upon remarriage at any age.
- Allow surviving spouses to maintain eligibility for education benefits under the Fry Scholarship and Dependents Education Assistance upon remarriage.
- Allow remarried surviving spouses access to Commissary and Exchange benefits.
- Allow remarried surviving spouses to regain their TRICARE benefits if that marriage subsequently ends due to death, divorce or annulment.
- Allow access to electronic medical records, appointments, referrals, and prescription refills for remarried spouses with dependent children, and ensure that remarried surviving spouses are treated as the parents to minor children not just the fiduciary.
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