Swanson legislation for veteran death benefits passes House

SPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Representative Dan Swanson (R-Alpha) to ensure that survivors of Illinois veterans receive the full benefits they deserve passed the Illinois House today.

“The idea for this legislation was presented to me by the family of a deceased veteran who was denied certain death benefits just because his death certificate did not include the full range of information about the conditions which led to his death,” Swanson said. “We need to change the way we record this information so that this does not happen again.”

House Bill 2856 would add a “Yes, Likely or Unknown” requirement to veterans’ death certificates to clarify if a military service-related injury contributed to the cause of death.

This change would better reflect service-connected illnesses and injuries potentially caused by such factors as exposure to radiation or chemicals like Agent Orange. With this more accurate information, families of deceased veterans would be better able to claim benefits to which they are entitled under existing law.

“A grieving family member of a veteran should not have to jump through bureaucratic hoops to get a death certificate changed in order to receive the benefits they deserve,” Swanson added. “This legislation spares them that additional trauma.”

The bill now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

71st District residents can find more news about the General Assembly and information about upcoming events on Rep. Swanson’s legislative website at repswanson.com.