I've received many, many emails about some recent legislation that's in the works. The indomitable Bill Faith has been all over the issue of survivor benefits, and it appears that the Main Stream Media has not.
First, let's take a look at survivor benefits for those in uniform who are killed in the line of duty:
1. Servicemen Group Life Insurance (SGLI) pays $250,000 to the next of kin upon the death of a military member while on active duty.
2. Additionally, when a service member is killed, the service member's next of kin receives a death gratuity of $12,000 (that's right, 12K).
3. The service member's spouse may also qualify for the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) which pays 55 percent of what the service member would have made at retirement until the spouse is 62 or until the spouse is married. Note that retirement tends to be between 40 and 55 percent of pay (accrued at the rate of 2 to 2.5% per year until retiring). You don't have to be a math whiz to figure out that 55% of 40% is not much to live on.
Anyone think that the benefits are acceptable?
The Senators would like to raise the SGLI from .$250,000 to $400,000 and the death gratuity from $12,000 to $100,000. The SBP would remain the same at 55%.
The bill, Honoring Every Requirement of Exemplary Service (HEROES) Act, would be retroactive for those killed during OEF, and all iterations of OIF.
Contact your Senators first as they will see the legislation first. And contact your Congressional Representative. This site makes it easy to get their contact information.
Be sure to emphasize that you fully support the HEROES Act and expect them to do the same (and you expect them to pass the bill quickly). You might want to throw in some information about the pitiful level of financial support our military receives for the job that they do - but that's up to you.