WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Congressman Warren Davidson (R-OH) reintroduced his bill to protect benefits for veterans and their families during the coronavirus pandemic.
Davidson first introduced The Ensuring Survivors Benefits during COVID-19 Act in the 116th Congress. If passed, the bill would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to seek medical opinions in the event that elderly veterans with service-related disabilities succumb to COVID 19. This should ensure that injuries that occurred in the line of duty are properly accounted for when reporting cause of death.
The bill was introduced because veterans’ groups are concerned that veterans in long-term care facilities who have preexisting conditions that make them more vulnerable to complications from the novel coronavirus would wrongly be classified as deaths from COVID 19, affecting benefits to which surviving spouses and children would normally be entitled.
After reintroducing his bill, Rep. Davidson made the following statement.
“The U.S. government made promises to the men and women who have sacrificed to keep our country safe. We owe it to them—and to their families—to ensure that benefits they have earned are not disrupted because COVID 19 contributed to their declining health.
“As a veteran, I’m dedicated to making sure America keeps its promises to veterans. We serve knowing we may be called upon to sacrifice everything. The very least Congress can do is fulfill America’s end of the bargain. In the age of COVID, veterans and their families deserve this reassurance.”
Reps. Lori Trahan (D-MA), Ted Budd (R-NC), and Kevin Hern (R-OK) are original cosponsors of the bill.