The Department of Veterans Affairs has begun providing survivor benefits to a woman thought to be the first same-sex war widow, the spouse of a female soldier killed in Afghanistan, the widow said.
The VA in April began compensation to Tracy Johnson as the widow of Army Staff Sgt. Donna Johnson, killed in 2012 by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan, according to a VA letter examined by The Wall Street Journal.
“After a review of my case, the [VA] has decided to retroactively recognize me as Donna’s legal spouse,” said Ms. Johnson at a gala Saturday evening for The American Military Partner Association, an advocacy group for LGBT service members and veterans. “Of course, there remains more work to be done.”
According to Ms. Johnson, her wife’s death certificate still doesn’t reflect their union, but the VA’s decision to recognize their marriage entitles Ms. Johnson to survivor benefits, including monetary compensation going back to the time of her wife’s death.