Veterans’ Services Committee discuss changes to benefits for Gold Star families

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – The Veterans’ Services Committee met Friday to discuss changes to some of the benefits that Gold Star families receive and emotions were high.

The widows of fallen service members poured their hearts out to lawmakers urging them to make a small change to the benefits they receive as Gold Star wives. Each year Gold Star family members have to fill out a form to continue collecting the benefits that their loved ones left behind.

That form requires widows to check off a box that tells the state that they have not remarried. Gold Star wife Erin Vasselian told 22News, “My question is, why can I not remarry without feeling as though I’m being punished and having something taken away from you.”

Military spouses said they’ve given so much and by not being able to remarry, they aren’t living how their loved ones would want them to. They are hoping lawmakers will pass this bill and adjust the benefits system to better reflect the needs of Gold Star families.

Members of the Veterans’ Service Committee didn’t vote on the bill Friday, however, Chairman of the Committee, Westfield State Senator John Velis, said this issue is a top priority.

Correction: An early version of this story contained an incorrect spelling for Erin Vasselian. The error has been corrected.

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