Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins joined a bipartisan group of Senators in cosponsoring the Ensuring Survivor Benefits During COVID Act, legislation to ensure that family members of veterans who passed away due to COVID-19 receive the dependent benefits they’ve earned. The legislation would require the VA to secure medical opinions for veterans with service-connected disabilities who die from COVID-19 to determine whether their service-connected disabilities were the principal or contributory causes of death.
“As the daughter of a World War II veteran who earned two Purple Hearts and a bronze star, I understand the importance of supporting our military families and protecting survivor benefits. The COVID-19 pandemic has tragically affected so many Americans across Maine and the country, and in some cases a prior COVID-19 diagnosis can even put a family’s survivor benefits in jeopardy,” said Senator Collins. “This bipartisan legislation would ensure veterans’ families receive all of the benefits that they have earned. We must do all that we can to support veterans in Maine and throughout the country who have sacrificed so much for our nation.”
In 2019, Senator Collins was successful in repealing the military widow’s tax, which was an unfair offset that prevented as many as 67,000 surviving spouses – including more than 260 in Maine – from receiving the full benefits they deserve.
In addition to Senator Collins, the bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Thom Tillis (R-NC), John Boozman (R-AR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).