TRENTON, NJ - : The Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee voted to approve legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove which would  require  the $750 annual compensation to surviving spouses of certain blind or disabled veterans to be payable from the date of the veteran’s death. 

Under the 9th District Delegation’s legislation (S-1542), payments to a surviving spouse would be due from April 9, 1985, in the event the veteran’s death occurred prior to that date, or the date of the veteran’s death if the death occurred after April 9, 1985, regardless of the date of the surviving spouse’s application

Connors, Rumpf and Gove issued the following statement on the Committee’s release of their veterans’ initiative: Presently, surviving spouses of blind or disabled veterans are eligible to receive the $750 annual compensation benefit from the date of their application under current regulations.  This lifetime benefit is statutorily available to a veteran who was blinded or severely disabled as a result of service during any war, including specifically World War II, Korean, or Vietnam.

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“However, we’ve learned of hardships cases in which spouses didn’t become aware of the benefit until long after they became eligible.  These individuals should be entitled to the monetary compensation dating back to when they became eligible due to the fact that it had already been determined that their spouse became blind or severely disabled as a result of wartime service. 

“According to the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs, there are presently 84 widows receiving the $750 annual compensation.  Our legislation would specifically impact 17 out of those 84 widows who would be entitled to receive the retroactive lump sum.”

 Assemblyman Rumpf and Assemblywoman Gove are sponsors of the companion version, A-986, which is presently lodged in the Assembly Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee.

Presently, members of the 9th District Delegation serve on the Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committees of both Houses.  The 9th District Legislators are also prime sponsors of the “New Jersey Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act,” which would update, modernize and bring in line with existing federal law the benefits and protections afforded to military servicemembers and their dependents.