Senators Reverend Warnock and Moran Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Ensure Surviving Spouses of Deceased Servicemembers Receive the Benefits They Deserve

Today, Senators Reverend Warnock (D-GA) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced the bipartisan Love Lives On Act of 2022—comprehensive legislation that will allow spouses of deceased servicemembers to retain survivor benefits upon remarriage

Currently, a surviving spouse could lose survivor benefits if they are under the age of 55; the Love Lives On Act would ensure survivors retain their benefits when they remarry, at any age

Bill would provide benefits to surviving spouses from active-duty, veteran, and retired servicemembers

The Love Lives On Act of 2022 is endorsed by 26 national organizations that serve military families

Senator Warnock is a stalwart champion for Georgia’s veterans, military families and servicemembers

Senator Reverend Warnock: “This robust bill will finally ensure that surviving spouses of our heroic servicemembers, who sacrificed everything in defense of our freedoms, get the care and benefits they deserve and earned through their patriotic service to our country”

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced the bipartisan Love Lives On Act, comprehensive legislation that will allow spouses of deceased servicemembers to retain survivor benefits upon remarriage. Currently, a surviving spouse could lose survivor benefits if they are under the age of 55. The Love Lives On Act would ensure retention of many benefits from both the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense upon remarriage at any age The bill includes surviving spouses from active-duty, veteran, and retired servicemembers. 

“Our military families are the unsung heroes of our armed forces,” said Senator Reverend Warnock.  I’m proud to have worked across the aisle with Senator Moran, as well as with so many dedicated advocates for our military families, in pushing to introduce the Love Lives On Act. This robust bill will finally ensure that surviving spouses of our heroic servicemembers, who sacrificed everything in defense of our freedoms, get the care and benefits they deserve and earned through their patriotic service to our country.”

“Military service is family service, and our country owes a great debt to the surviving spouses of fallen servicemembers,” said Senator Jerry Moran.“As Gold Star spouses heal from their loss and choose to remarry, they should not have to worry about losing their earned survivors’ benefits provided by the VA.”  

“TAPS is grateful to Senators Warnock and Moran for their leadership in introducing the first comprehensive remarriage bill, the Love Lives On Act of 2022. This important legislation will ensure surviving military spouses retain their benefits upon remarriage at any age. The living legacies of our Nation’s fallen military heroes deserve no less,” said Bonnie Carroll, President and Founder, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

“The Love Lives on Act of 2022 will ensure surviving military spouses retain eligibility for survivor benefits from the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), if they remarry before age 55. It also removes archaic and punitive language regarding ‘holding oneself out to be married,’” wrote 26 Veteran Support Organizations in a letter of support endorsing the Love Lives on Act. That full letter can be found here

The Love Lives On Act will: 

  • Allow surviving spouses to retain Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) upon remarriage at any age.
  • Allow surviving spouses to maintain eligibility for education benefits under the Fry Scholarship (Chapter 33) and Dependents Education Assistance (Chapter 35) upon remarriage, and if that marriage subsequently ends in death, divorce or annulment.
  • Allow remarried surviving spouses access to Commissary and Exchange benefits.
  • Allow remarried surviving spouses to regain their TRICARE benefits if that marriage subsequently ends due to death, divorce or annulment.
  • Allow access to electronic medical records, appointments, referrals, and prescription refills for remarried spouses with dependent children, and ensure that remarried surviving spouses are treated as the parents to minor children not just the fiduciary.
  • Honor all surviving spouses by removing archaic and punitive language regarding ‘holding oneself out to be married’; and more.

A stalwart champion for Georgia’s veterans, military families and servicemembers, Senator Warnock has been active in Washington working to strengthen federal support for Georgia’s veterans. For starters, Senator Warnock successfully worked to pass his bill that will study disparities in access to VA benefits, as well as the PACT Act, legislation he supported that provides for the largest expansion of veteran’s health benefits in decades. In addition, Senator Warnock has introduced legislation to upgrade standards of care in veterans’ homes, and more recently, he has introduced legislation to bolster affordable military housing for servicemembers and their families. Lastly, Senator Warnock has continued to conduct oversight of the VA, including demanding action from the VA to address a mail pile up at the Atlanta VA that persisted for over a year, and leading a group of lawmakers in urging the Department of Defense (DoD)  to conduct continued oversight of privatized housing companies.

In addition to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, the Love Lives On Act is also endorsed by: Air Force Sergeants Association, American Legion, Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS), American Veterans (AMVETS), Blue Star Families, Chief Warrant Officers Association of the United States Coast Guard, Commissioned Officers Association of the United States Public Health Service, Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Fleet Reserve Association, Gold Star Wives of America, Inc., Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Jewish War Veterans, Military Chaplains Association, Military Child Education Coalition, Military Officers Association of America, the National Association of State Approving Agencies, National Military Family Association, Non Commissioned Officers Association, Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), Student Veterans of America, The Enlisted Association, The Independence Fund, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), United States Army Warrant Officers Association (USAWOA), The Warrior’s Journey, and Vietnam Veterans of America.

Full bill text of Senator Warnock’s Love Lives On Act can be found here. 

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