Families of Veterans

In 1972, Congress established the Military Survivor’s Benefits Plan (SBP) to provide retirees’ survivors an annuity.

This plan is purchased by retirees or provided to survivors of Active Duty service members who died in the line of duty. It provides the surviving spouse or dependant children with up to 55% of the service member’s retired pay. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs also provides a Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) to the survivors of service members. Under current law, the SBP is “offset” by the DIC, reducing the total benefit bought and paid for by the service member, even if the plan is paid in full.

Rep. Eshoo is a cosponsor of the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act. The legislation will repeal provisions which require the offset of amounts paid from Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuities for surviving spouses of former military personnel who are entitled to military pay. The bill also requires the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs to permit payment of the annuity to the children of veterans when there is not an eligible surviving spouse.

Rep. Eshoo is also a cosponsor of the Surviving Spouses Benefit Improvement Act. The legislation would increase the DIC for surviving spouses and dependent children of seriously disabled veterans and military personnel who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related disability. The current DIC rate is roughly equal to 41 percent of the total paid to a totally disabled veteran. The bill would increase the rate to 55 percent to match the rate other Federal Survivor programs receive.