HONORING THE NATION'S MILITARY FAMILIES ESPECIALLY CHILDREN
Last week while visiting Ft. Riley, Kansas to meet with soldiers preparing for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, I was also able to meet with some of their families.
The families, especially children of those serving our country, suffer quietly through the absence of their loved ones. Their fears and burdens are many. It is a very emotional and anxious separation. Not only are they away from a mother or father for long periods of time but they often must move, leaving friends behind, as their parent is transferred. The children of military families are making a sacrifice for their country just as surely as their loved one in uniform.
It is only appropriate that the United States sets aside the month of April each year to recognize the contributions these children make during "Month of the Military Child".
Fighting for Military Children
In recognition of the sacrifices made by military children, Congress has worked to improve benefits for the families of those who serve overseas. In the last four years, we've increased the death gratuity benefit to $100,000 from $6000. We've increased the life insurance benefits for all troops to $400,000 from $250,000. And we've permanently increased the pay rates for the Imminent Danger Pay (IDP) and Family Separation Allowance (FSA) for deployed active duty and reserve military personnel from $150 to $225 per month and the FSA from $100 to $250 per month.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I also introduced legislation, the Deployed Service Members Financial Security and Education Act, to improve benefits for military families by increasing the military pay schedule by up to $1000 per month during long-term deployments of active duty and military personnel. This proposal was signed into law as part of the Defense Authorization Act of 2005.
But our work is not done. I am currently the Chairman of the Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee and I intend to make sure that we continue to meet the needs of military families.
Helping the Children
There are many excellent organizations right here in Nebraska that are dedicated to helping military families. The American Legion is currently leading the charge to make sure military children are taken care of while parents are deployed or if they lose a parent. I urge Nebraskans to contact American Legion Post I at 7811 Davenport Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68114 for more information on how they too can help the children of our brave men and women in uniform.
The caring and generosity of patriotic Americans like these should help assure every child in a military family that their country is just as proud of them as it is of their parents who volunteered to defend this country and are being called to duty in dangerous areas around the world.
To learn more about Month of the Military Child please connect to the following link: