Today, U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC) introduced the Love Lives On Act, a bipartisan bill that will allow spouses of deceased servicemembers to retain survivor benefits upon remarriage. Along with Rep. Hudson, Representatives Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Gwen Moore (D-WI) serve as original cosponsors on the legislation.
"As Fort Bragg's Congressman, I believe our country owes a tremendous debt to the surviving spouses of fallen servicemembers," said Rep. Hudson. "It takes great courage to pick up the pieces and move on. Therefore, we must ensure that surviving spouses can continue to move forward, free from the fear of losing the benefits owed to them through their late spouse's military sacrifice."
"It's vital that our country takes care of all surviving spouses of military service members, which is why I am so pleased to join my colleagues in this bipartisan effort," said Rep. Moore. "Our bill, the Love Lives On Act, will make important changes to current policies for surviving spouses, ensuring more can access crucial benefits."
"As a Gold Star Son, my gratitude to our servicemembers and their families is immeasurable," said Rep. Phillips. "We always seem to find enough resources to send our men and women in uniform into harm's way, but we must ensure the families of those who do not return are given equal priority. Gold Star Spouses make unimaginable sacrifices and deserve unending respect and support. The Love Lives On Act is part of my mission to ensure our Gold Star Families have access every single benefit they are owed, and I'm grateful to colleagues on both sides of the aisle for backing it."
Currently, a surviving spouse is at risk of losing survivor benefits if they are under the age of 55. The Love Lives On Act would ensure retention of many benefits from both the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense upon remarriage no matter the surviving spouse's age. The bill includes surviving spouses of active-duty, veteran, and retired military personnel.
Love Lives On Key Provisions:
Allow surviving spouses to retain the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) if they remarry, regardless of age. The Survivor Benefit Plan provides up to 55% of a service member's retirement pay to an eligible beneficiary after the service member dies. The Dependency and Indemnity Compensation is a tax-free monthly benefit to survivors.
Grant surviving spouses who remarry access to Commissary and Exchange benefits.
Allow remarried surviving spouses with children access to electronic medical records, appointments, referrals, and prescription refills. The remarried surviving spouse would also be treated as a parent.
Allow the surviving spouse to keep eligibility for education benefits under the Fry Scholarship and Dependents Education Assistance. The spouse would keep these benefits if their next marriage ended in death, divorce or annulment.
Surviving spouses would also be able to regain TRICARE benefits if their new marriage ends in death, divorce or annulment.