This week, Florida Rep. Michael Waltz, a combat veteran and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation that would increase benefits provided for God Star families. Democrat Rep. Seth Moulton and Republican Rep Don Bacon also joined him in introducing the legislation.
The SFC Brian Woods Gold Star and Military Survivors Act is named after Army Sgt. 1st Class William B Woods Jr. who served as an Army Green Beret with Waltz. In honor of Woods who was killed on August 16th, 2009 in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, the bill would expand on several benefits that are provided for Gold Star families.
For example, the bill would “allow survivors that re-married to continue to have access to on-base facilities if they have dependent children,” it would “allow surviving spouses of servicemembers who were killed while on duty to continue to receive DIC or SBP should they re-marry and ensures survivors that re-married before the bill becomes law are eligible to collect benefits moving forward,” and it would “authorize the Pentagon to extend the existing child care service assistance program (for civilian providers) to survivors of servicemembers that die in the line of duty” among other benefits.
Commenting on his support for the legislation, Waltz expressed that “the knock on the door that initiates a family into the Gold Star community is the most dreaded moment in a military family’s life.” Moreover, “from that moment forward, these families deserve our best and most meaningful commitment in honor of their loved one’s sacrifice for our freedom and security.” In turn, Waltz concluded that “this bill would ensure the Gold Star families of our fallen are cared for by giving their children and spouses the lifelong benefits they deserve and transportation costs for a burial and memorial worthy of their sacrifice.”