MOAA Backs Senate Bill That Would End ‘Widows Tax’

MOAA Backs Senate Bill That Would End ‘Widows Tax’
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Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) introduced legislation Feb. 28 to end the deduction of Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuities from Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) paid to survivors of fallen servicemembers, also known as the “widows tax.”

MOAA has long supported repeal of the widows tax, backing similar legislation from House Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and others. The change would mean that in cases where military service led to the death of a servicemember, DIC would be paid in addition to the SBP annuity.

[TAKE ACTION: Tell Your Representative to End the Widows Tax]

About 67,000 military survivors would benefit from this legislation, with the current offset costing them about $12,000 annually.

“The SBP-DIC offset remains grossly unfair to the members of the military community who deserve our support the most,” said Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret), President and CEO of MOAA. “We thank Sen. Jones for his leadership on this issue, and we encourage their fellow legislators to join the fight.

"The need to solve this inequity is uniformly agreed-upon throughout Congress, but they haven't found the political will to resolve it," Atkins said. "The 116th Congress has an opportunity to be known for getting this done."

Jones' new legislation -- S. 622, the Military Widows Tax Elimination Act - already has 31 Senate cosponsors from both sides of the aisle as of March 5, including 28 original cosponsors.

[RELATED: TV Station Shines New Light on Fight to End Widows Tax]

Wilson and Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) introduced a similar bill, H.R. 553, in the House earlier this year.

In April, as part of its annual Storming the Hill event, MOAA plans to bring in chapter leaders from across the country to meet with lawmakers to find a permanent end to the widows tax.

While previous efforts to eliminate the widows tax have generated support from lawmakers, most civilian constituents remain unaware of the financial penalty. MOAA encourages its members to share this information with civilians in their communities, both geographical and online.

Act now to send your elected officials a MOAA-suggested message urging them to end the widows tax.

About the Author

James Naughton
James Naughton

James Naughton is a former Associate Director, Compensation and Legislation, for MOAA Government Relations.