23 February 2005

The Honorable Mike DeWine
United States Senate
140 Russell Senate Office Building
, DC 20510

Dear Representative DeWine:

On behalf of FRA, I extend sincere gratitude for your interest in enhancing the benefits provided for survivors of deceased members of the Armed Forces.

The Association is particularly supportive of increasing the monthly payment of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from $967 to $1,500. Many of the more than 1,400 service members have died serving our nation left behind young spouses with small children. While there are a number of legislative proposals providing enhancements to survivor benefits in the short term, such as increased death gratuities, there has been little talk about providing long term compensation to these families who have already sacrificed so much.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the purpose of DIC is to provide survivors and their families with a monthly benefit to compensate for their loss. The base monthly payment for DIC is $993 for a survivor with children. Surely, we can do better. Our nation has a moral obligation to ensure those survivors and their families are taken care of, and increasing the monthly DIC payment is a step in the right direction.

FRA will be most pleased to endorse an individual bill that enhances the survivor benefits for the families of those men and women who died in service to our nation. The Association stands ready to assist you and your staff in working toward the advancement of this important initiative.

National Executive Secretary