When a service member leaves active duty, they have the option to pay into the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) which is an annuity that will pay the surviving spouse in the event of the service member’s death. When a service member is killed while on duty or from a service connected death, their surviving spouse is awarded the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from the VA. However, because of current legislation, surviving spouses cannot collect both forms of compensation and an offset is in place that allows the surviving spouse to collect only their DIC and not the SBP that they have paid into.
To alleviate the financial strain caused by this offset until it can be repealed, The Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) was created in 2008. This is an allowance paid to surviving spouses of service members who died a service connected death. The SSIA was created by Congress because they agreed that it is wrong to deny the surviving spouse the full amount of compensation but could not come up with the funding at the time to repeal the offset. However, the SSIA was created with a time limit and it is set to expire in October 2017 unless action is taken. Currently, there is no momentum or vote planned on this and Congress needs to be encouraged to address this rather than allow the benefit to expire.
The SSIA is a vital income for our Gold Star Families who have paid the ultimate price in support of our country. This is an urgent and time sensitive matter. Please support the elimination of the SBP/DIC offset by asking your congressional representatives to cosponsor H.R. 1594 in the House and S. 979 in the Senate. Also, seek support for H.R. 4519. Use the toll-free Capitol Hill line (866) 272-MOAA (6622) to call your congressional representatives today. For additional information regarding the SBP/DIC offset, visit the Survivor Advocacy Issues section of MOAA’s Web base.