Sinema’s new bipartisan bill ensures dependents of deceased veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Senator Thom Tillis (NC) introduced a new bipartisan bill ensuring family members of veterans who passed away due to the coronavirus receive the dependent benefits they’ve earned.
“We must help family members grieving the loss of their veterans receive their rightful benefits by requiring investigations into whether service related disabilities contribute to veterans’ coronavirus-related deaths,” said Sinema.
“COVID-19 has tragically taken the lives of veterans in North Carolina and across the nation who had service-related disabilities that were contributing factors,” said Senator Tillis. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to ensure the families of veterans receive the benefits they deserve.”
“This is the right bill at the right time. I applaud Senator Sinema for doing what is right and fighting to support veterans and their dependents. Some of Arizona’s VSOs have been fighting to get this support for surviving spouses and this bill is needed help during these difficult times,” said Chuck Byers, Arizona Military Order of the Purple Heart, State Commander.
“TAPS is thankful that Senator Sinema and Senator Tillis have introduced critical and timely legislation to ensure the Department of Veteran’s Affairs grants benefits to survivors of veterans who die of COVID-19 with an underlying, service connected, health issue that may have contributed to their death by coronavirus,” said Bonnie Carroll, President and Founder of Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). She added, “In unprecedented times it is important that we come together in nonpartisan ways to help our veterans, survivors and fellow citizens as we all cope with the damaging effects of this unprecedented pandemic. It is our hope and expectation that the bill will receive overwhelming support on both sides of the aisle and we look forward to seeing it passed into law.”
Sinema’s new legislation 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 labeled 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.