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2 lawmakers are taking aim at the controversial ‘widow’s tax’ on Gold Star family benefits

Editor’s Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

With overwhelming support in Congress, two senators hope this is the year a dollar-for-dollar offset in compensation to surviving military spouses of military personnel and retirees — known colloquially as the “widow’s tax” — is eliminated.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, took to the Senate floor Monday urging for a vote on their proposed amendment to the national defense policy bill to overturn the offset.


The legislation, which has the backing of 75 senators, would repeal deductions taken from those who receive payments under the Defense Department’s Survivor Benefit Plan and also get Dependency and Indemnity Compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Under the Survivor Benefit Plan, military retirees pay a portion of their retirement benefit to ensure that family members receive up to 55% of their retirement pay when they die.

The program, which is subsidized by the Defense Department, requires retirees to pay up to 6.5% of their gross retired pay, depending on the amount of coverage desired, much like an insurance plan.

On the other hand, DIC is automatically awarded to surviving families of troops or veterans who die of service-related conditions.

But under the current system, family members who receive both see their SBP reduced dollar for dollar for the amount they receive in DIC.

In some cases, Collins said, the offset can lead to total elimination of the Survivor Benefit Plan.

“It is out and out unfair and harms the survivors of our service members and military retirees,” Collins said Monday. “The average offset [of $925] is a significant amount of money that the widower …read more

Read more here:: Task & Purpose

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