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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) co-introduced the bipartisan Gold Star Spouses and Spouses of Injured Service members Leasing Relief Expansion Act. Military families may relocate frequently or suddenly as the result of a service member’s military orders, and these moves often involve entering into leases for a house, apartment, or other dwelling, or an automobile. If a service member dies or sustains a catastrophic injury or illness during military service, his or her spouse may be forced to pay off the remainder of that residential or automobile lease or face a penalty for breaking the lease.

The bipartisan legislation amends the Service members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to expand existing financial protections for military families’ residential and car leases in the following ways:

Allow the spouse of a service member who died while in military service to terminate a motor vehicle lease during the one-year period beginning on the date of the death of the service member, if that service member died while in military service or while performing full-time National Guard duty, active Guard and Reserve duty, or inactive-duty training.

Allow the spouse of a service member who sustained a catastrophic injury or illness to terminate a residential lease AND a motor vehicle lease during the one-year period beginning on the date of the injury or illness of the servicemember, if that servicemember sustained the injury or illness while in military service or while performing full-time National Guard duty, active Guard and Reserve duty, or inactive-duty training.
“Military spouses play a vital role in supporting our service members and often handle signing a lease for a home or automobile when service members receive orders to relocate,” said Senator Tillis. “This bipartisan legislation will provide military spouses with relief and financial protections to help them during an incredibly difficult time for their family.”

The bipartisan legislation was also introduced by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and simultaneously introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH).

The Gold Star Spouses and Spouses of Injured Service members Leasing Relief Expansion Act is also supported by Paralyzed Veterans of America, The American Legion, Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), and Americans for Financial Reform (AFR).

“We are pleased with the introduction of the Gold Star Spouses and Spouses of Injured Service members Leasing Relief Expansion Act. This legislation will allow spouses of service members who sustained a catastrophic injury/illness to terminate residential and automotive leases without penalty. We support this legislation and look forward to its swift passage,” said Heather Ansley, Associate Executive Director of Government Relations at Paralyzed Veterans of America.

“Gold Star Families have suffered and share in their service members ultimate sacrifice and the nation owes them the fullest support possible. The American Legion is serious about its obligation to our service members and their families and wants to ensure that the surviving families receive the highest level of support as they face tough decisions upon being notified. The Gold Star Spouses and Spouses of Injured Service members Leasing Relief Expansion Act would help ensure Gold Star Families are given the best our country has to offer them. We look forward to expeditious action on the measure and thank Senator Warren, Senator Portman and a number of their colleagues in the Senate and the House for introducing this legislation,” said Brett P. Reistad, National Commander of the American Legion.

“TAPS was so grateful for the work put in last year to pass the Gold Star Leasing Relief Act and we are excited to work with Sen. Warren this year to expand it to spouses of those who are injured and ill,” said Ashlynne Haycock, Deputy Directory Policy & Legislation at Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors.

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