WASHINGTON DC—Today, Congressmen John Garamendi (D-CA) and Mike Turner (R-OH) reintroduced the “Military Retiree Survivor Comfort Act”. This bipartisan legislation would prohibit the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) from clawing back the final retirement benefit paid to a veteran the month that they pass.
Congressman Turner, a senior Republican member of the House Armed Services Committee, stated:
“Under the Department of Defense’s current policy, the final month’s retirement benefit of a deceased veteran may be refunded if the family fails to immediately notify the DoD of their loved one’s passing. Military families in grieving should not be punished under heartless and unnecessary penalties,” said Turner. “Congressman Garamendi and I introduced The Military Retiree Survivor Comfort Act to fix this misguided policy. Military families deserve our respect, and our bipartisan bill will help these families avoid undue hardship during what is already a difficult time.”
The Department of Defense policy currently dictates that the final month’s retirement benefit of a military member can be clawed back on a prorated basis if the family of the deceased fails to notify the Department of Defense of the veteran’s death.
Military families with joint bank accounts, who often have retirement benefits deposited electronically, are often unaware that the DoD’s DFAS can claw back overpayments without their consent. This results in joint bank accounts being drained of funds and subject to overdraft fees, all while the family is still grieving from their loved one’s death.
Congressmen Garamendi (D-CA) is Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, which oversees issues pertaining to the U.S. military and service members.
Rep. Turner cosponsored this legislation in 2019.