The House has passed the Federal Reform Act and now waits to see if it passes the Senate. South Carolina Congressman Henry E. Brown Jr. is on the Veteran Affairs’ subcommittee and was pleased to see the bill passed. He says the bill will help survivors of retired military personel. The concern is that the current Survivors Benefit Plan is unfair to the survivor of military
retirees that pass away because due to service related illness or injury. Brown explains how the current plan works. “A retired veteran dies of a service-connected medical condition, the surviving spouse forfeits dollar-for-dollar from his or her SBP (Survivors Benefit Plan) the amount he of she receives from the DIC (Dependency and Indemnity Compensation) from the VA (Veteran’s Affairs),” said Brown.
“And what the government does, I guess to think that maybe that’s fair, the government then returns to the survivor the proportionate amount of the SBP premiums that the service member has paid over the years without interest and subject to taxation.”
The bill is intended to reduce the burden placed on survivors of military retirees. Brown says the current system is illogical. “If your spouse passed away and you were looking for an insurance policy and they could not give it to you if you received another insurance policy,” he said. “We felt like this was an inequity and so we’re trying to do some things to bring equity back to those retired spouses. There is only about 60,000 left that are impacted by this problem.”
Brown says this bill is a small step towards his ultimate goal if relieving survivors of what has become known as the ‘widow’s tax’.