Veterans' Survivor Benefits Improvement Act," H.R. 801 (now Public Law
- From Taiwanvets.com,
Member William B. Baker,USMC,BOH98 send you this breaking news item. I
suggest you print it and keep it in your personal health files; and
certainly pass it onto those that may not know of the change and need the
coverage. Also, in way of an observation, Chris Smith (NJ Rep.) is one hell
of a kick ass congressman always pushing for Vet rights. He's to be
commended for acting on part of we 25 million alive-today vets - YOU can
assist you Rep. to emulate Mr. Smith by frequent communication on all Vet
issues and certainly on all other issues, LLOYD
New Law Adds Life Insurance and Health Care Benefits for
More Than Two Million Spouses and Children of Veterans
(Washington, DC) - President Bush late last night signed into law
the "Veterans' Survivor Benefits Improvement Act," H.R. 801 (now Public Law
107-14), authored by Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-4), the Chairman of the
House Veteran's Affairs Committee, which adds $100 million in new health
care benefits for surviving spouses of veterans.
"We have a sacred obligation to care for our 'Gold Star Wives,"
spouses of service members who were killed in action or died from
service-related causes," Smith said. "With the enactment of this new
legislation, we now treat the surviving spouses of veterans in the same
manner as those of military retirees who received similar benefits last year
under the 'TRICARE for Life' enhancements," he said.
"With the President's signature last night, new life insurance and
health care benefits have been created for up to two million eligible
spouses and children of veterans," said Smith. "Under the new law,
survivors of veterans killed in action or from service-related causes who
receive Medicare, will now be eligible to have CHAMPVA, VA's Civilian Health
and Medical Program, provide payment for medical expenses and co-payments
that Medicare does not cover," he said.
"In addition, my legislation expands the Service menbers' Group Life
Insurance (SGLI) program to include spouses and children; up to $100,000 for
spouses and $10,000 for children," Smith said. "The law also makes
retroactive the previously approved increase to $250,000 of the maximum
benefit for service menbers who die in the performance of duty, thereby
covering at least 57 men and women who died in tragic accidents since
October 1, 2000," he said.
The Smith legislation also includes provisions to require the
Department of Veterans' Affairs to develop comprehensive educational and
outreach programs to ensure that eligible spouses and dependents are made
aware of the services and benefits for which they qualify.
"Without an aggressive and pro-active outreach program,
unfortunately, many surviving spouses would never know about these and other
benefits they are eligible to receive," Smith said.
"The men and women who have paid the ultimate price to defend our
freedom deserve to have the their loved ones cared for," said Smith. "With
the President's signature last night, we have taken another important step
to meet our obligation to them, and therefore show all of our nation's
veterans the respect they have earned," he said.
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