DARKE COUNTY — Congressman Warren Davidson (R-Troy) recently introduced a bill in the U.S. House that, if passed, will protect survivor benefits for veteran families in relation to COVID-19.
The Ensuring Survivors Benefits During COVID-19 Act requires the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to obtain medical opinions when a veteran with a service-connected disability dies from COVID-19. This will ensure that survivor benefits are not diminished when a service-connected disability was the principal or contributory cause of death. Additional due diligence from the VA shifts the burden from grieving families and streamlines casework to ensure that veterans and their families receive what they are owed.
After introducing the bill, Davidson praised service members and urged congress to act quickly.
“America must always provide every benefit promised to and earned by veterans.” stated Davidson. “Presently, cause of death rulings threaten benefits veterans have earned. Congress must act to ensure that the VA accurately deals with cause of death, while accounting for service-related injuries in order to properly care for all surviving family members.”
He continued, “I’m proud to introduce this bill to remedy a unique challenge facing families of veterans in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Veterans with long-term medical challenges shouldn’t have to worry that contracting COVID 19 will endanger the benefits they earned while serving our country.”
The Ohio Veterans of Foreign Wars also showed their support for the bill.
“Many service-connected conditions put veterans at a severe risk from COVID-19,” said Larry Moore, VFW Legislative Chairman, Department of Ohio. “The survivors of these veterans should not be burdened with administrative obstacles when they file for the benefits to which they are entitled. The VFW thanks Representative Davidson for introducing this important legislation, which would require VA to secure a medical opinion to ascertain whether a service-connected disability contributed to the cause of death for veterans who die of COVID-19.”
This bill has bicameral and bipartisan support, as it is the House companion to a similar bill introduced in the Senate, H.R. 8484, Ensuring Survivors Benefits during COVID-19 Act of 2020.
Davidson is an origial cosponsor of the bill that was introduced in the House.