BOSTON — Late Tuesday night, Senator Eric P. Lesser joined the state Senate in a 38-0 vote to pass an amendment expanding death benefit payments to Massachusetts Gold Star Families.

The amendment entitles Gold Star Family members to a retroactive payment of their annuity plans to the date that their loved one was lost. It was sponsored by Senator Thomas M. McGee of Lynn in honor of a constituent who lost her son and did not file a survivor benefit claim for a number of months while she grieved.

State law entitles Gold Star Families to a full annuity payment from the date of their family member’s death.

“Gold Star Families have paid the ultimate price, and we owe them the greatest debt. We owe this debt not only to those who have served and whom we have lost, but to their families as well. Especially as Memorial Day approaches, we have a solemn obligation to honor their sacrifices,” said Sen. Lesser.

Anyone who has lost an immediate family member serving during wartime is considered a Gold Star Family member.

The amendment will be included in the Senate version of the budget, which will be negotiated with House members before a final budget proposal is sent to the governor’s desk.

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