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(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly members Jack Conners, Herb Conaway M.D., Cleopatra Tucker and Upendra Chivukula to require the state to provide the surviving beneficiary of deceased service member with a packet describing available benefits is now law.

The bill was privately signed on Thursday.

“This is a simple and compassionate effort to assist the family of every deceased service member from our state,” said Conners (D-Burlington/Camden), chairman of the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “These heroes gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom, so providing each family with information they need to access all the federal and state benefits for which they may be eligible is the right thing to do.”

“Losing a loved one is always a tragedy, and unfortunately, a family of a deceased service member may not be aware of the services available to them,” said Conaway (D-Burlington/Camden). “This bill will correct that by requiring us to actively reaching out to the family of every deceased service member.”

“We owe our best to the families of those who have lost their lives defending our country,” said Tucker (D-Essex). “A simple packet that ensures they know all the benefits available to them is the least we can do to help them move forward with their lives in their time of grief.”

“This law is a matter of simple decency,” said Chivukula (D-Somerset/Middlesex). “It’s easily accomplished and can mean a lot to the families who are suffering with the loss of a loved one.”

Under the law (A-1952), upon receipt of the notice from the United States Department of Defense of the death of a service member who resided in this state and whose surviving beneficiary resides in this state, the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs will provide the surviving beneficiary with a comprehensive packet containing information on all federal and State benefits for which the surviving beneficiary may be eligible.

The division will develop the packet and supply packets for distribution.

The law will also apply when a deceased service member is not a resident, but whose surviving beneficiary is a resident.

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