Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik today introduced the Ernest Peltz Accrued Veterans Benefits Act, bipartisan legislation to help veteran families overcome the bureaucratic hurdles of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and secure accrued pension benefits for an ailing or recently passed veteran.
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 error, the VA didn’t deposit the approved funds in Mr. Peltz’s bank account until seven days after his passing. Due to that error, the VA pulled these funds, leaving Mr. Peltz family to deal with all expenses related to his care.
“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 the Peltz family and all our veteran families to work to cut down on bureaucracy while families are mourning the loss of a loved one and hero. 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,” Congresswoman Stefanik said.
“My father was not only a veteran but a public servant throughout his life. He wished only for his government to do the right thing for him and for his brothers in arms. Since we brought our concerns to Congresswoman Stefanik, she immediately responded herself and has been a tireless advocate for our family in mitigating the federal bureaucracy of the VA. This bill is an honor to the legacy of my father and countless other veterans, whose families will now not have to navigate unnecessary and disrespectful hurdles when mourning the loss of a loved one,” Charles Peltz, son of World War II veteran Ernest Peltz, said.
Specifically, this legislation would assist countless American families seeking accrued pension benefits for an ailing or recently passed veteran by:
  • Ensuring VA accrued pension benefits are released to the surviving family retroactively,
  • Eliminating additional obstacles at the VA for a veteran’s child by changing code language from “surviving spouse” to “eligible survivor,” and
  • Expanding the timeline to include the month of death for when a family can receive the accrued veterans benefits.
This bipartisan legislation was cosponsored by Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), David McKinley (R-WV), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Scott Franklin (R-FL), Tom Cole (R-OK), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Paul Gosar (R-AZ).
Read full text of the bill here.