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Legislative History of Survivor Benefits

Veterans' benefits played a vital role in the development of this great Nation and its institutions and contributed significantly to the wellbeing of many citizens. As early as 1624, the General Assembly of Virginia voted to create pension benefits for those injured in war. However, it was in the following years that colonies established survivors' pensions for widows and orphans of men killed in combat. Over time, benefits have expanded considerably for Survivors and dependents of Veterans and deceased Servicemembers since Colonial times.

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Legislative Links

Link to US Code

Link to House Committee on Veterans Affairs

Link to Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs

Proposed Legislation from
the 112th and previous sessions of Congress

This content has been derived by searching the Library of Congress website (Thomas.Gov) for materials related to "surviving spouses." Please note that you may also visit and continue researching legislative topics that are important and relevant to you. The following list has been compiled for your convenience, however for the absolute latest information, please visit to learn more.

At this time, there are 30 pieces of legislation in the 112th Congress that have been proposed by the House and Senate that relate to survivng spouses, however it should be noted that Congress sometimes uses other terms to identify Survivors, and because of that some legislation may not be represented above. These terms include widow, widower, or in the case of children, surviving child or surviving dependents. Because of this, we encourage you to continue your search utilizing your own search terms at to insure you are viewing the most accurate representation of proposed legislation possible.

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