Reps. Waltz, Moulton Introduce Bill to Expand Benefits for Gold Star Spouses
Washington, April 23, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Congressmen Michael Waltz (FL-6) and Seth Moulton (MA-6) introduced the Captain James C. Edge Gold Star Spouse Equity Act to restore benefits to widows and widowers of servicemembers killed in the line of duty.
Under current law, surviving spouses of fallen servicemembers lose their Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) benefits should they remarry before turning 55, and lose their Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits should they remarry before turning 57. The Captain James C. Edge Gold Star Spouse Equity Act would completely repeal this remarriage penalty.
“Under current law, widows and widowers of servicemembers killed in the line of duty are forced to forfeit earned benefits should they remarry before 55 and 57,” said Rep. Waltz. “These arbitrary age limits are completely nonsensical and only punishes those who forever mourn the loss of their spouse. I’m proud to once again work with Rep. Moulton to help the Gold Star community and help these spouses keep their benefits.”
When Americans sign up to serve in the military, they should know the American people have their backs. If they sacrifice their lives for our country, the least our country can do is take care of their families” said Rep. Moulton. “We owe a debt that cannot be fully repaid to Gold Star families. We must fix this for them.”
“Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. is proud to support the Captain James C. Edge Gold Star Spouse Equity Act, which will affect not only members of Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.; but all Surviving Spouses who have lost benefit eligibility due to remarriage; and those who wish to remarry in the future,” said Nancy Menagh, President of Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. “Making it possible for these Surviving Spouses to be able to move forward without losing financial benefits honors the commitment that we have to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
The SBP is a death benefit provided by the Department of Defense. A survivor of a servicemember who died on active duty is paid a benefit equal to 55% of their retirement pay if they had been retired at 100% disability at the time of death. The amount of pay is dependent on the pay grade at the time of the servicemember’s death. The DIC is a VA benefit paid to eligible survivors of active-duty service members and survivors of veterans whose deaths are determined to be service-related. The current monthly DIC rate is $1,357.56.Last Congress, Congressmen Waltz and Moulton introduced the SFC Brian Woods Gold Star and Military Survivors Act of 2019, a broader legislative package to expand benefits for Gold Star families, including repealing the remarriage penalty. Most of its provisions were included in the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act and are now Federal law.