Military widows set to finally receive survivor benefits

Washington D.C.

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) – A bipartisan defense bill moving through Congress includes benefits that thousands of military families have been waiting for.

The bill means more than 65,000 surviving military spouses will receive benefits they’ve earned after decades of waiting.

“They now know people truly care,” Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) said.

Sen. Jones helped get what’s called the “Military Widows Tax” repealed as part of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act. Sen. Jones – with the help of Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) – eliminated a provision that prevented Gold Star families from receiving full survivor benefits from the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

“It has just been one of the most unfair programs that the United States has had that has been hoisted on military families,” he said.

The bipartisan step marks an 18-year effort to pass the bill on Capitol Hill. Washington Correspondent Kellie Meyer asked why it took so long to go through.

“I think it’s been a budget issue,” Sen. Jones said. “You know a lot of times people up here, they tend to look at dollars and cents more than they do right or wrong.”

Jones says this year was different. Nearly 80 senators co-sponsored the bill.

The changes will be phased in over the next three years. Jones says that means about an additional $12,000 per year from about 2,000 spouses in his home state of Alabama.

For military spouses, that help can’t come soon enough.

“They had worked on this for so long and they thought the country was just ignoring their pleas,” Sen. Jones said.

The NDAA passed the House just this week. It’s expected to pass the Senate before lawmakers break for the holiday recess.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Top Videos

Florida College isolates unvaccinated students after measles case on campus

Thumbnail for the video titled "Florida College isolates unvaccinated students after measles case on campus"

Gift cards destroyed

Thumbnail for the video titled "Gift cards destroyed"

Senator urges Trump to orchestrate coordinated approach to prevent spread of coronavirus

Thumbnail for the video titled "Senator urges Trump to orchestrate coordinated approach to prevent spread of coronavirus"

Family pleads for help on 11th day of elderly woman's disappearance

Thumbnail for the video titled "Family pleads for help on 11th day of elderly woman's disappearance"

Big bust

Thumbnail for the video titled "Big bust"

Adopter of dog that attacked sheriff's horses lived in a tent in the woods

Thumbnail for the video titled "Adopter of dog that attacked sheriff's horses lived in a tent in the woods"

Puppies train to be superheroes at Southeastern Guide Dogs

Thumbnail for the video titled "Puppies train to be superheroes at Southeastern Guide Dogs"

Tampa Bay man runs Gasparilla race in memory of his late wife

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tampa Bay man runs Gasparilla race in memory of his late wife"

Teenagers hold Unity Walk in Clearwater

Thumbnail for the video titled "Teenagers hold Unity Walk in Clearwater"

Cyber Safety Day

Thumbnail for the video titled "Cyber Safety Day"

Coast Guard remembers deadly Blackthorn crash 40 years later

Thumbnail for the video titled "Coast Guard remembers deadly Blackthorn crash 40 years later"

Blackthorn 40th anniversary

Thumbnail for the video titled "Blackthorn 40th anniversary"
More Local News

Trending Stories

get the app

News App

Weather App

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss