Stefanik introduced this legislation after working with Charles Peltz, whose father, World War II veteran Mr. Ernest Peltz, passed away after being approved for his accrued pension benefit. However, due to a VA processing error, the VA did not deposit the approved funds in Mr. Peltz’s bank account until after his passing. The VA then removed these funds from Mr. Peltz’s account, even though he was alive when his benefit was approved, leaving his family to deal with all expenses related to his care.
This bill improves the process of issuing pension benefits payments administered by the VA that are impacted by the death of the beneficiary. It would ensure that veterans receive their accrued pension benefit in the event of a month of death-claim, or if payment for the month of the death has been issued.
“Our nation should take great pride in awarding our veterans the benefits due to them from their service. Sadly, the Peltz family’s encounter with the VA’s bureaucratic red tape is too often the case for many of our veteran families in Upstate New York, the North Country, and across America. I’m proud to take action on behalf of the Peltz family and all our veteran families to work to cut through the bureaucracy our veterans face,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “I am proud to introduce this legislation to honor the legacy of World War II veteran Mr. Ernest Peltz and take one step forward in improving the effectiveness of an agency infamous for regulatory red tape.”
“When someone signs up to wear the uniform, America’s promise is that we will have their back for the rest of their life. With this bill, we’re not only reaffirming our support for veterans, but making sure we’re also looking out for their families,” said Congressman Andy Kim. “Veterans’ family members deserve to know they won’t be on the hook for financial burdens while mourning the loss of a loved one. By making these small but substantive changes we can help veteran families across the world breathe easier and have better financial security so they can live with dignity.”
“In the midst of losing my father, my family was forced to deal with much added stress due to the VA’s error. Since we brought our concerns to Congresswoman Stefanik, she has been a tireless advocate for our family in mitigating the federal bureaucracy of the VA. This bill is an honor to my father’s legacy and the legacy of countless other veterans; a bill to ensure that veteran families will not have to go through the hurdles we were forced to when mourning the loss of a loved one. That Elise has kept working for this bill over these past years is a testament to her deep commitment to all of us," said Charles Peltz, son of World War II veteran Ernest Peltz.
“The VFW supports the Ernest Peltz Accrued Veterans Benefits Act which would ensure VA benefits are paid out for the entire month when a veteran passes away. This proposal would help the surviving family members to deal with the financial hardships that come with a veteran’s passing and provide assistance in a time of need. The VFW thanks Congresswoman Stefanik for championing this issue,” said Pat Murray, VFW’s National Legislative Director.
This bipartisan legislation was cosponsored by Representatives McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Cole (R-OK), Gosar (R-AZ), Turner (R-OH), Banks (R-IN), Khanna (D-CA), and Rutherford (R-FL).
Read the full text of the bill here.