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House Passes Banks Veterans Bill
Updated November 7, 2017 6:31 AM
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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Monday the House of Representatives passed a bill authored by Congressman Jim Banks (IN-03).

The Banks bill would correct existing law regarding headstones provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to the spouses and dependent children of veterans whose remains are never located.

Public Law 105-368 provides headstones for spouses and was enacted in 1998. Public Law 109-461 provides headstones for dependent children and was enacted in 2006. Under current law, both groups are eligible for this benefit as of the date of enactment. However, these two laws did not go into effect at the same time, potentially opening the door for a parent to receive this benefit but not a child.

The Banks bill would amend title 38 of the United States Code to provide for a consistent eligibility date for spouses and dependent children to receive memorial headstones. The date for both would be set at the current date for spouses - November 11, 1998.

"Our veterans deserve for us to follow through on our promises." said Banks. "The VA pays for the headstones of veterans' spouses and dependents whose remains are never found. This bill would fix current law so that the eligibility dates are consistent for the two groups. In some cases, a spouse and child have passed away in the same accident, and the spouse received a headstone, while the child did not. My bill addresses this unfortunate situation."

The Banks legislation passed the House unanimously and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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