Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hagel Reintroduces Bill to Aid Military Families

Hagel Reintroduces Bill to Aid Military Families

March 20th, 2007 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) joined Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) today in reintroducing the “Military Retiree Survivor Benefit Equity Act.” This legislation would allow qualifying surviving spouses of military service members to receive survivor annuities—without being offset—from both the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Department of Defense.

“America owes a great debt of gratitude to our professional service members. It is important to remember that years of devoted service also affects not only service members, but their families. This legislation will ensure that surviving military spouses are guaranteed access to the benefits that were earned and purchased by the service of their loved one,” Hagel said.

Currently, when a retired service member passes away from a service-related disability, the surviving spouse may be eligible to receive 1) Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) paid by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and 2) Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) which is paid by the Department of Defense. Under current law, DIC payments to surviving spouses are deducted from their SBP payments. Therefore, most surviving spouses of disabled military retirees find that their DIC payments cancel out their SBP benefits. This legislation would allow surviving spouses who qualify for both to receive full DIC and SBP payments. Hagel and Bill Nelson introduced similar legislation in the 109th Congress.

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