New legislation looks to change how surviving military spouses receive benefits
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) - A new bipartisan bill aims to shake up how benefits for family members of deceased service members receive benefits. Under current rules, family members lose spousal benefits if they re-marry before the age of 55.
Tammy McCracken's husband David served our country for years. She says she was with him every step of the way until he tragically lost his life 11 years ago.
“We kind of moved all over the world, lived everywhere,” she said. “The pain of losing David was completely unbearable.”
She says the months after losing David were hazy, but there was one statement from survivor outreach services that stuck out to her.
“They said hey by the way, if you’re thinking about remarriage, you cant until at that time it was 57. Or you lose all of your benefits," she recalled.
Under current laws a surviving spouse could lose all survivor benefits if they remarry and are under the age of 55.
“For me its like my husband fought for our country for 30 years, it was him that served, but I was there too,” McCracken said.
These rules could change under the new Love Lives on Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Republican Kansas Senator Jerry Moran and Democratic Georgia Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock.
The new legislation would allow surviving spouses to retain their survivor benefits upon remarriage, regardless of the age.
“Its not just service members that show up, their families do,” Sen. Warnock said. “There’s nothing about their moving on that deletes the service that they’ve already provided.”
Senator Warnock says introducing this legislation is important for him because of Georgia’s rich military background.
“People who represent us and who serve us, and get the best for us. Ought to get the best from us,” he said.
For Tammy, she says she hopes this act passes in part so she doesn’t have to sign a letter each year certifying that she has not remarried.
“It’s like you need to report in. It’s like it is some sort of entrance ticket to a sporting event that you didn’t want to go to anyway,” she said.
Copyright 2022 WFXG. All rights reserved.