U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama announced Tuesday that the Gold Star Families Relief Act passed the Senate with unanimous bipartisan support. The bill was introduced earlier in May by Jones, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, and a bipartisan group of senators. It is intended to provide tax relief for survivor benefits that children who have lost a parent during military service receive.
In the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, there was a provision that raised the taxes on these survivor benefits to as high as 37 percent. This is referred to as the “kiddie tax.”
“Gold Star families have sacrificed so much for our nation, and passing this legislation to remove the exorbitant tax on surviving children’s benefits is the least we can do,” Jones said, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We can never truly thank these families enough for the sacrifices that they have made, but we can do everything in our power to honor and care for them. I am proud to have the bipartisan, unanimous support of the entire Senate in passing this bill.”
Jones also recently introduced another piece of legislation to repeal the “widow’s tax,” a law that prevents as many as 65,000 surviving military spouses nationwide from receiving their full survivor benefits from both the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
The legislation is called the Military Widow’s Tax Elimination Act. Incidentally, many of the families who are affected by the widow’s tax are also affected by the separate kiddie tax.
The widow’s tax has caused many gold star parents to put their DoD benefits in their children’s names in order to collect the full survivor benefits they are due and have also paid for in the form of annuities for a voluntary DoD life insurance program. Jones’ Military Widow’s Tax Elimination Act has garnered 68 sponsors, which means it has enough support in the Senate to be immune to a veto.