Senators Doug Jones (Ala.) and Susan Collins (Maine) recently sent a bipartisan letter – co-signed by 64 of their Senate colleagues – to the chairmen and ranking members of both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees calling on them to ensure the House-passed provisions to repeal the SBP/DIC offset (Military Widow’s Tax) remains in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA-HR 2500-S. 1790). Senators Jones and Collins were unsuccessful in their efforts in June to amend the Senate NDAA. The final bill is currently being negotiated between the House and the Senate. The final bill will be voted on by both chambers and if approved will go to the President to be signed into law or vetoed. If signed into law, this legislation will repeal the unfair law that prevents as many as 67,000 surviving military spouses nationwide from receiving their full Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs survivor benefits. Currently, military widows and widowers who qualify for the VA’s Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) are forced to take a dollar-for-dollar offset from the Survivors Benefits Plan (SBP) benefit, even though retirees elected to pay into the program.
Legislation to repeal the Military Widow’s Tax has been repeatedly introduced in the Senate and House over the past 18 years, but this is the first time this provision has been included in a bill that has passed either chamber of Congress. For more information, contact Sandra at the Veterans Service Office at 602 Strong Ave on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 3pm, or call 365-3612.
Sandra G. Van Zant
Veterans County Service Officer