TAPS Advocates for All Military Survivors 


The mission of TAPS is to offer comfort and support for surviving families of military loss regardless of the location or manner of their death. Part of that commitment includes advocating for improvements in programs and services provided by the Federal government through the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Education (DoED), Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as well as State and local governments. TAPS also works to advance policy and legislation to strengthen the families of America’s fallen military heroes. 

For more information on TAPS Military Survivor Advocacy, contact us at policy@taps.org.


Current Legislative Priorities

 
Soldier against fire background
Improve Healthcare and Benefits For Veterans Of Toxic Exposure, Their Families, Caregivers, And Survivors

TAPS is a member of the Toxic Exposure in the American Military (TEAM) coalition which was instrumental in legislation that improves how veterans exposed to toxic substances receive health care.

Widow Tax Legislation House get together
Increase Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

TAPS was instrumental in the fight to eliminate the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) / Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) offset or “Widow’s Tax” and continues to work towards equity with other federal benefits for surviving spouses.

 
 
Couple Holding Hands
Retain Survivor Benefits Upon Remarriage

A long-term goal for TAPS is to secure the right for surviving spouses to remarry at any age and and not forfeit loss of financial benefits such as education, medical care, commissary and exchange benefits.

 
 
Define Gold Star Family
Define Gold Star Family

TAPS is honored to be part of a collaborative of leading organizations caring for military survivors left behind. We all agree that how our loved ones died does not change the grief we feel as survivors.

 
 
money and paperwork
Strengthen the Death Gratuity

TAPS supports a minimum of 50% of the Death Gratuity for eligible surviving spouses and to change the name of the Death Gratuity to more accurately reflect the intended purpose of the payment and sensitivity towards newly bereaved survivors.

survivors console each other
Advance Suicide Prevention and Postvention Efforts

TAPS has been on the front lines of suicide postvention efforts to support military families grieving deaths by suicide, as well as using lessons learned on the lookback to save countless lives through suicide prevention efforts.

flags at cemetery
Ensure Benefits for Veterans Who Die of COVID-19 With Underlying, Service-Connected Disabilities

Veterans who pass away from the coronavirus may have their cause of death labeled as "COVID-19" without accounting for service-related disabilities that complicate their diagnosis.

Navy Family
Ensure Fry Eligibility for Families of Those Who Die In The 120 Day Release From Active Duty (Refrad) Period

TAPS long-term goal is to bring all survivors into the Fry Scholarship and phase out the Vietnam Era Dependents Education Assistance (Chapter 35).

 
graduates
Guarantee In-State Tuition for Chapter 35 Recipients

Post 9/11 GI Bill is currently eligible for in-state tuition at any state school in the country. Survivors using Dependents Education Assistance (DEA) under Chapter 35 are excluded.

 
college student
Standardize And Make Permanent the Iraq And Afghanistan Service Grant

This version of the Pell Grant administered by the Department of Education is for surviving children above the income requirements for Pell and is set to expire.

college students
Advance Student Protections for Surviving Families

With the enhanced benefits from the Forever GI Bill, there is an increase in predatory practices by for-profit schools. Ensuring students' long-term success is a high priority.

 
Fruits and Vegetables
Protect And Preserve Commissary and Exchange Benefits

Commissary and Exchange benefits provide a top and vital non-pay compensation benefit to service members, retirees, their families and survivors.

 

Related Articles and Videos

 
at the gravestone
Agency Over Agent Orange

When a loved one's illness comes years after military service, survivors can feel disconnected from military & veteran support services. TAPS is here to help navigate this journey with you.

 
 
Veterans Affairs and TAPS Staff
TAPS and VA Partner Together for Veteran Benefits

TAPS partnership with the Veterans' Affairs ensures veterans and their families receive the support they need.

 
Coleen and Senator Tillis
From Caregiver to Survivor: Finding New Purpose and Honoring Husband's Legacy

TAPS leadership lead to the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs passage of a Landmark Toxic Exposure Bill.

 
 
Candace Wheeler speaking in front of Podium at Capitol Hill
Surviving Military Spouses Axed the Widow's Tax

Several members of the TAPS Family key to efforts that ultimately axed the Widow's Tax share about their work on this historic legislation.