Covering Louisiana

Jan 25, 2011 5:11 PM

Jindal backs expanding death benefits for soldiers

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Gov. Bobby Jindal is backing legislation to expand special benefits for the families of National Guard members who die while on active duty.

The bill, which carries a nearly $9 million price tag, didn't make it through the legislative session last year because of its cost. But Jindal announced Tuesday at a press conference in Pineville that he'll include the money in his budget proposal.

An existing law provides $100,000 checks for permanently disabled guardsmen and $250,000 for relatives of guardsmen who die while on active duty. To qualify, the death or disability must have occurred between July 2007 and the present.

The measure supported by Jindal would make the law retroactive to 2001, to compensate soldiers or families of soldiers who died or were injured between 2001 and 2007.

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