House Passes Bipartisan Gold Star Family Support and Installation Access Act

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Washington, November 7, 2017 | comments

Washington, DC – Today, Representative Salud Carbajal (CA-24), member of the House Armed Services Committee, announced that the bipartisan Gold Star Family Support and Installation Access Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously. Introduced by Rep. Don Bacon (NE-02), Carbajal worked closely with Bacon as an original cosponsor of the bill to make H.R. 3897 a bipartisan effort, and to gain wide support in the House.

The Gold Star Family Support and Installation Access Act addresses fundamental problems with current laws regarding the access and use of already established benefits to surviving spouses and dependent children. The only provision in law today that defines what it means to be a Gold Star family, is presenting a lapel pin to surviving families.

“While it is impossible to repay the great sacrifice made by our Gold Star families, we must do all that we can to offer them our support,” said Rep. Carbajal.  “I am proud to join with fellow veterans in Congress to pass the Gold Star Family Support Act. It is the least we can do to ensure that these families are given the compassion and recognition they deserve.”

“As a Commander in the Air Force, I’ve seen firsthand the pain Gold Star families feel when they lose a loved one, and as a Congressman, I’ve learned of the ways Gold Star families are disenfranchised,” said Rep. Bacon. “The core of this bill is about commitment, a commitment for life, and ensuring as a legislative body we support our Gold Star families and extend to them a small measure of compassion, dignity, and respect that their tremendous sacrifice deserves. I thank Congressman Carbajal for his support.”

 

Background

Gold Star families’ access to installations is not required in current law and after a period of time, these families also lose that access, prohibiting them from attending a memorial service or a unit reunion, or receive grief counseling. If a Gold Star spouse remarries, he or she automatically loses all access to their on-base benefits, even if the remarried spouse has dependent children who still have these benefits with no practical way of using them.

H.R. 3897 addresses these fundamental issues. First, it requires Gold Star spouses and children to have lifetime access to installations and gives the Secretary of Defense the ability to authorize similar access to next of kin. The bill also provides installation access reciprocity between the military services. The bill also allows remarried Gold Star spouses to keep their benefits as long as dependent children remain at home.

The Gold Star Family Support and Installation Access Act was introduced on October 2, 2017. The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

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