Peters, Stanfield push for veteran spouse benefits in lame duck

TRENTON – Assemblyman Ryan Peters and Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield applauded the passage of legislation in the Senate Military and Veteran Affairs Committee, which would help surviving spouses of veterans.

The bill is a version of legislation introduced by Peters and Stanfield that would make surviving spouses of veterans eligible for New Jersey’s $6,000 tax deduction for veterans. Surviving spouses of veterans are currently only eligible for the deduction the year their veteran spouse dies.

“When husbands and wives serve our country their spouses also make sacrifices along with them. They take on extra responsibilities at home and stay strong for their families,” Stanfield said.

“While this bill still has more hurdles to jump through to become law, I’m glad that it took a big first step. We owe it to our veteran families to get this passed before the new legislative term starts,” said Stanfield, who has been outspoken on the issue along with Peters.

The state tax deduction is currently available to all veterans who were honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces, but is only available to surviving spouses if their spouse died that year.

“Spouses of military members often have to move around, consistently uprooting their lives and raising children on their own for long stretches of time, all in support of a greater mission, which is protecting the freedom of our great nation,” said Peters, who served multiple combat tours overseas as a Navy SEAL.

“The commitment they made throughout the years does not disappear when their spouse dies and neither should the protections we put in place to make the life of a military family a little less challenging,” Peters continued.

The Veteran Tax Deduction was introduced into law in 2017 as a $3,000 deduction and has since increased to $6,000.