Senate unanimously approved Sinema bill ensuring veteran family members receive survivor benefits and a Sinema-backed bill increasing VA disability compensation rates
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a pair of bipartisan bills championed by Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema. The Ensuring Survivor Benefits During COVID Act—bipartisan legislation Sinema and Republican Senator Thom Tillis (N.C.) introduced—ensures family members of veterans who passed away due to COVID-19 receive the survivor benefits they’ve earned. The Sinema-backed Veterans’ Disability Compensation COLA Act increases the VA disability compensation rates.
“Arizona veterans and their families make incredible sacrifices to keep our country, state, and communities safe. These two bipartisan bills ensure Arizona veterans and their families receive the care, benefits, and resources they’ve earned,” said Sinema, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
Sinema’s bipartisan Ensuring Survivor Benefits During COVID Act was inspired by stories she heard during her regular calls with Arizona veteran serving organizations to discuss coronavirus relief efforts. Currently, veterans who pass away from coronavirus may have their cause of death identified as “COVID-19” without accounting for service related disabilities that further complicate their coronavirus diagnosis. Sinema’s bill ensures those disabilities are taken into account so family members have access to benefits they’ve earned.
The Sinema-backed Veterans’ Disability Compensation COLA Act—bipartisan legislation increases the rates of VA disability compensation, dependency compensation for surviving children and spouses, and the clothing allowance for veterans based on rising costs of living. This cost-of-living adjustment is equal to the amount of the adjustment given to Social Security recipients.
In May, along with Sinema’s Ensuring Survivor Benefits During COVID Act and the Veterans’ Disability Compensation COLA Act, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee also passed the Sinema-backed Colonel John M. McHugh Tuition Fairness for Survivors Act, which helps veterans’ families access educational benefits.