* * * Second Measure of Hunter’s “First 100-Day Initiative” * * *
WASHINGTON, DC – The second bill introduced as part of his “First 100-Day Initiative,” Congressman Duncan Hunter (CA-50) has authored the Burial Rights for America’s Veterans’ Efforts (BRAVE) Act of 2019. The measure modernizes the burial allowance benefit for veteran families, which has not changed since 1973.
“Since 1917, military families have been promised that a grateful nation will assist with the eventual burial needs of our veterans,” said Congressman Hunter. “Like many government programs over time, however, this policy has become a bit complex and out-of-touch with today’s needs and costs. The process needs to be simplified, allowing military families to have peace of mind knowing what will be provided and what will not.”
At its inception in 1917, the burial allowance was determined by a means test and paid to all veterans, regardless if the cause of death was service-related or not. This policy was changed in 1973 when the allowance was modified to reflect a service connection element and has not been adjusted since. As a result, families of veterans passing away due to a service-connected disability are compensated with a burial benefit of $2,000. Should the veteran pass away in a VA department facility, the benefit is $780 and if the veteran passes away without a cause of death deemed service-connected or with no next of kin, the benefit is $300.
“For almost 50 years, we have provided our veterans the same burial benefit without any adjustment for current inflation,” said Congressman Hunter. “Times have changed significantly since 1973 and my bill reflects this reality. Simply put, the BRAVE Act indexes for inflation the burial benefits for all veterans regardless if their death was service-connected or not and it raises the benefit for veterans with a non-service-connected death to match the benefit for those who pass in a VA facility. This is a simple adjustment that makes the process easier for our military families during a time of need.”
The BRAVE Act is the second bill introduced by Congressman Hunter as part of his “First 100-Day Initiative,” a proactive legislative agenda to have the House vote on common-sense reforms that will directly benefit the American people and is calling on Democratic leadership to provide them with full consideration. The BRAVE Act has been filed as H.R. 497 and is expected to be referred to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.