Tuberville, Manchin Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Restore Benefits to Defrauded Veterans

Bill continues Sen. Tuberville’s effort to lead targeted policy changes at the VA

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced the Restoring Benefits to Defrauded Veterans Act to reissue benefits to defrauded veterans. Since taking office, Senator Tuberville has introduced multiple pieces of veterans’ affairs-related legislation aimed at making targeted and meaningful changes to how the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) delivers benefits and care to our nation’s veterans and servicemembers.  These efforts include a bill, which has already passed the U.S. Senate, to increase servicemembers’ and veterans’ life insurance maximum coverage amount and bipartisan legislation to clarify the information required on GI Bill benefit transfer forms so that eligible dependents are not barred from education benefits due to an error. The Restoring Bill Benefits to Defrauded Veterans Act continues Senator Tuberville’s efforts in this space. 

“We’d like to believe we live in a country where no one would take advantage of our veterans, but sadly it does happen.  What’s worse is if the money that was lost to fraud is never returned. This bill attempts to help right that wrong by ensuring a veteran’s estate can be reimbursed for any funds that were lost to fraud should the veteran pass away before the funds have been reimbursed. It’s my priority to find ways to make the government work better for the American people, and this bill is a small step toward doing just that for our veterans,” said Senator Tuberville.

“Our Veterans have sacrificed so much to protect our great nation and the values we hold dear. Unfortunately, thousands of Veterans have been victims of fraud and have dealt with a long, drawn out process to ensure they and their families receive their earned payments,” said Senator Manchin. “Our bipartisan Restoring Benefits to Defrauded Veterans Act would make a simple fix to help these defrauded Veterans and their families receive the support they need and deserve. I thank Senator Tuberville for working with me on this important issue and I encourage my bipartisan colleagues to join our commonsense legislation.”

The Restoring Benefits to Defrauded Veterans Act would:

Under current law, if a defrauded veteran passes away before their case with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is resolved, the veteran’s family cannot seek reimbursement for the defrauded funds. This legislation would change that statute to allow a deceased beneficiary’s estate to receive reissued funds. Specifically, the bill will:

  • Require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to reissue misused benefits to a beneficiary’s estate in cases where the beneficiary predeceased reissuance.
  • Provide reissued benefits to either the veteran’s estate, successor, or next inheritor.

On November 15, 2021, U.S. Representatives David Trone (D-MD) and Tom Emmer (R-MN) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Restoring Benefits to Defrauded Veterans Act is endorsed by the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Wounded Warrior Project, and the American Legion.

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.