HUNTER RE-INTRODUCES INSURANCE REFORM LEGISLATION FOR MILITARY FAMILIES
Washington, DC – Continuing with his “First 100-Day Initiative,” Congressman Duncan Hunter (CA-50) today re-introduced the “Fulfilling Obligations to Families of the Fallen Act,” ensuring military families are aware when changes are made to their coverage involving Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI). Currently, military members have the option of opting into SGLI, however, there exists very weak notification requirements when changes are made to the policy or service members decline coverage.
“Several years ago, I became aware of circumstances where the surviving family members of deceased active-duty personnel did not learn that the service member had declined insurance coverage until after their death,” said Congressman Hunter. “Consequently, military spouses expecting insurance benefits learn at the worst time possible that those benefits do not exist. On several occasions, I offered an amendment to the annual defense bill to fix this ongoing problem, only to receive pushback from the House Veterans Affairs Committee because of a political turf battle. It is for this reason that I am once again introducing a stand-alone bill with the hope we can actually have some movement on correcting this problem which has gone on for too long.”
Congressman Hunter’s legislation improves the process by requiring active duty members and their spouses to submit a notarized document acknowledging any changes or declined coverage regarding their SGLI policy. While SGLI is technically a defense program, oversight is carried out by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the House Veterans Affairs Committee has been insistent that any changes regarding VA policy go through their jurisdiction. Congressman Hunter introduced the same legislation in the last Congress but, to date, the House Veterans Affairs Committee has taken no action on the issue.
“This is a common-sense and necessary solution to ensure that our military families have all the resources they need during the most difficult of times,” said Congressman Hunter. “I am re-introducing this legislation with the expectation that it will be referred to the House Veterans Affairs Committee and I am calling on House Democratic leadership to expedite their consideration and move it quickly. Personally, I don’t care how it’s done, I just want to see it done. Military families of fallen service members deserve better than politicians bickering over who should actually fix a problem which causes great harm.”
Congressman Hunter’s SGLI fix is the third measure he has introduced as part of his “First 100-Day Initiative” where he is providing common-sense legislative solutions to ongoing policy problems affecting everyday Americans. Previous bills he has authored including the AMERICA Act to improve the census process and the BRAVE Act to streamline the burial benefit for U.S. veterans.