New Tennessee law expands benefits for survivors of veterans who died from COVID-19

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Posted at 9:40 AM, Apr 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-28 10:40:47-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A new law recently signed by Gov. Bill Lee works to help families of veterans get survivor's benefits. The bill specifically mentions situations involving COVID-19.

The nonprofit Tennessee Veterans said when a veteran dies from COVID-19 and service-connected disabilities were a factor, if that is not mentioned on the death certificate it could mean the family won't get certain benefits.

"When this happens, the qualified surviving spouse, child, or parent of a service member who died in the line of duty, or the survivor of a veteran who died from a service-related injury or illness, may not be able to receive the monetary benefit called Veteran Administration Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)," the organization said in a release.

This new law works to get ahead of that issue.

It said before signing the death certificate for a veteran, their medical records need to be reviewed to see if a service-connected disability was the main or contributing cause of death.

If so, it must be included on the medical certification. The requirements to do this review of the medical records only applies if the person signing the certificate knows the person is a U.S. veteran and is given access to their medical records, according to the bill's summary.