Caring for Survivors Act 2023
The Caring for Survivors Act of 2021 was introduced in the 117th Congress by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee chair Jon Tester and Senator John Boozman. It may now face a revision for 2023.
This act sought to revise the benefits granted to survivors and family members of veterans who died because of their military service. In addition, the bipartisan regulation sought to ease the eligibility requirements for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) to enable more survivors to receive benefits and raise the monthly benefit amount to match other benefits awarded by other federal programs. Typically, the act would:
- Increase eligibility for DIC by substituting the “10-year” with a graduated scale of benefits that would start at five years for initial eligibility of 50% and slowly increase it to the maximum benefits ten years after the determination of disability. For instance, if a veteran is proven to be totally disabled for five years and then dies because of a non-service-related cause, surviving family members would be entitled to 50% of the DIC benefits.
- Raise the amount of DIC benefits to 55% of the rate of monthly benefits received by totally disabled veterans.
In a nutshell, the Caring for Survivors Act of 2021 sought to reduce the timeframe veterans need to be rated completely disabled from ten to five years–widening eligibility to more survivors.
(Check out helpful statements on the 2021 bill here.)
Priority for Disabled and Deceased Service Members
On February 15, 2023, Senate and House of Representatives officials introduced a bill that’s a priority for disabled service members and their surviving spouses. This new bipartisan bill is the Caring for Survivors Act of 2023.
This proposed legislation will revise monthly compensation for survivors and family members of veterans who died in their service to our nation or service members who lost their lives from service-related diseases or injuries. The DIC program will contain the financial revision proposed in the legislation. DIC is an earned compensation that surviving family members receive after the demise of an active-duty veteran or service member who dies from an injury or disease related to their service.
Similar bills were proposed in the previous 117th Congress (see Bill Summary: CFSA 2021) in the Caring for Survivors Act of 2021 and during the 116th Congressional session. However, while the 117th Act has 72 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and 14 co-sponsors in the Senate, it wasn’t passed.
Essentially, the Caring for Survivors Act of 2023 will broaden eligibility for the DIC program by substituting the “10-year” rule in the original bill that established the DIC program.
The proposed legislation will gradually substitute the “10-year” rule with a compensation scale that starts at five years for the initial qualification and slowly reaches the full benefit ten years after the establishment of the disability.
How will the Caring for Survivors Act of 2023 change monthly benefits?
Another crucial aspect of the proposed bill is to raise the amount of DIC monthly benefits to disabled veterans. This will ensure parity to benefits for DIC recipients, which presently lag behind similar Federal program benefits by approximately 12%.
The rate of benefits paid to surviving spouses of veterans who die in the line of duty or service members who die from service-connected diseases or injuries was determined in 1993. Since that time, this rate has been adjusted minimally. DIC compensation is currently restricted for survivors if the military service member was disabled for less than ten years before death.
Helpful statements on the 2023 bill include the following:
- Sen. John Boozman, who introduced this legislation to the Senate, said, “Families whose loved ones died in the line of duty or from service-connected diseases or injuries need not worry about their financial security. This bipartisan legislation will fix outdated procedures, providing family members and surviving spouses earned compensation in line with other federal programs. ”
- Congress representative Johana Hayes, who introduced the Caring for Survivors Act of 2023 in the House of Representatives, said, “I’m dedicated to honoring our veterans by ensuring their families can get the compensation they have earned. The outdated procedures surrounding DIC have caused unbearable stress to surviving spouses. ”
- Disabled American Veterans (DAV) National Legislative Director Joy Ilem said, “The last thing surviving family members should worry about is making ends meet after the death of their veterans.”
How Trajector Can Help
Trajector helps people with disability receive the compensation they’re legally, medically, and ethically entitled to. Unfortunately, many Americans struggle to secure their disability compensation because of a lack of awareness, complex eligibility requirements, and cumbersome procedures.
At Trajector, we provide crucial and valuable solutions for our customers, bringing confidence and clarity to an often emotional and daunting process, which we do with compassion and empathy. Contact us today to learn how we can help you and your family recover the disability benefits you’re entitled to.