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WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., joined a fellow Democrat in introducing the Survivor Benefits Fairness Act, legislation to ensure the Veterans Administration cannot demand that the families of the beneficiaries repay their monthly benefits in the event of the death of the surviving spouse.

According to information from the congressman’s office, Steil’s staff was contacted by a constituent who received notice from the VA to return survivor benefit payments. The legislation, co-sponsored by Rep. Connor Lamb, D-Pa., is in honor of the Hessil family “and seeks to undo the unjust policy currently in place at the VA,” Steil said.

Steil represents Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district, which includes all of Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth counties.

Lamb represents Pennsylvania’s 17th congressional district, which encompasses areas north and northwest of Pittsburgh.

I learned of this unfortunate situation when I was contacted by the family of a woman who was receiving monthly VA benefits due to her husband’s military service,” Steil said. “This woman sadly passed away five hours before the end of the month. As a result, the VA is now demanding that her family return her benefits for the entire month.

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“I want to thank Anne Hessil for coming to our office and working with us to help pass this important bill,” Steil said.

Anne Hessil spoke about the importance of respecting veterans and their families.

“The greatest sacrifice an American citizen can make is to serve their country and to do so to help uphold the freedoms that we all get. I think sometimes we take that for granted,” Hessil said. it’s an amazing country. We have opportunities here because of the sacrifices soldiers make and their family members make, and we have to put that first.

“I don’t think we’re doing enough for our veterans and their family members,” Hessil continued. “The sacrifices they made, whether it was directly on the battlefield, or whether it was a later illness or condition, that we must put before our policy.”

The bill was introduced as House Resolution 6323.