Widows of 100% disabled veterans will soon be getting a financial boost thanks to a law that goes into effect November 1st. Senate Bill 46, by Sen. Don Barrington, will provide surviving spouses who have not remarried with a sales tax exemption of up to $1,000 per year.
“This is a measure I’ve been advocating for the past several years. Disabled veterans’ benefits are cut in half after their death putting a financial burden on their spouses,” said Barrington, R-Lawton. “More than 2,500 widows will finally be getting the financial relief they deserve. Just like the veterans, these spouses made great sacrifices as well taking care of their families and maintaining a household by themselves while their loved one was away. This small financial incentive is a way for us to both honor the memory of those great heroes and look out for their beloved spouses.”
Barrington explained that veterans who are 100 percent disabled receive $2,500 a month in benefits. Their widows, however, receive only $1,100 a month.
“These widows not only have to deal with the loss of their loved ones, but also the loss of nearly $17,000 in annual benefits. This exemption won’t make up that difference, but it’ll give them some financial relief and help with groceries and other necessities,” said Barrington.
The Oklahoma Veterans Council, which is made up of 28 member organizations, has been requesting the bill for several years.
“We’re really proud and grateful for Senator Barrington’s dedication and persistence in advocating for this legislation. The amount of time and effort he spent on this bill as well as the bipartisan support he was able to garner for it shows what a great public servant he is and friend to Oklahoma’s veterans,” said Pete Peterson, Oklahoma Veterans Council Chairman. “He has a long history of supporting veterans and vet issues and has dedicated a great amount of time, effort and resources into the advancement of veterans’ issues. We know that without his efforts on this cause, we very well may not have gotten this legislation signed into law.”
The bill was also supported by the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
“We’re extremely pleased that this law has finally become a reality. It’s going to make a tremendous difference for thousands of paralyzed veterans’ widows,” said Scott Ellis, Government Relations Director, MidAmerica Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “We want to thank Senator Barrington for carrying this legislation and for his diligence in getting it through the process.”