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Schock bill would help surviving military spouses

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Congressman Aaron Schock has introduced a bipartisan bill to help ease financial burdens that surviving military spouses, parents and children often face after the loss of an active duty or National Guard loved one.

The bill, H.R. 4559 extends the time period from one year to three years for surviving family members to designate a portion of their benefits to Roth IRAs and Coverdell education savings accounts. Since 2008, military survivors have had the option to invest these payments into select retirement and education savings accounts, bypassing the usual limits set by current tax law. For many military families, this can be a very significant step toward providing for retirement or a child’s education.

Schock was joined by three original co-sponsors: Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD); Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.); and Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.).

“Every year, thousands of Americans face the loss of an active duty or National Guard family member. Ensuring the financial well-being of their surviving spouses and children is a top priority of the United States government. Under current law, however, we do not allow these families adequate time to make important decisions about how to plan for life without their loved one. That’s why I’ve introduced H.R. 4559 – to  offer these families the time they need to grieve without feeling rushed to make decisions about hose to best allocate their survivor payments,” Schock said.

According to reports from the Army Survivor Outreach Service, approximately 25 percent of Army survivors are no ready to make significant financial decisions during the first year after the loss of a service family member.

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Way and Means, of which Schock is a member. The bill is supported by numerous military and veterans advocacy groups, including the Military Coalition.

Kathleen Moakler, Survivor Program’s Chairman for the Military Coalition said she endorses the bill. “Extending the time period during which this can be done from one to three years will be a great help to surviving spouses, parents and children. Often, surviving family members are not able to make quick financial decisions in those first months after the loss of a loved one. This extension will help them in creating a strong financial plan for their future. The Military Coalition supports H.R. 4559 and pledges its full supports for enactment this year,” she said.

Schock said, “This Bipartisan, common sense legislation deserves urgent consideration by Congress, and I will work with my colleagues to facilitate quick committee action and a floor vote before the end of this year.”