President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDA) on December 20, 2019 which included the repeal of the "Widows Tax". The Widows Tax, as it is called, is due to Concurrent Receipt laws which state that one individual cannot receive two forms of federal funds for the same thing. For every dollar paid out via the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), one dollar is deducted from the SBP insurance benefit, essentially wiping out the payment entirely.
The Department of Defense’s Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), enacted in 1972, provides cash benefits in the form of a lifetime annuity to a surviving spouse or other eligible recipient(s) of a retiree or deceased member of the uniformed services. The original intent of the SBP (and its antecedents) was to “ensure that the surviving dependents of military personnel who die in retirement or after becoming eligible for retirement will continue to have a reasonable level of income.” Coverage was later expanded to those who die while on active service. Under the SBP, a military retiree can elect to have a portion of his or her monthly retired pay withheld in order to provide a monthly survivor benefit to a designated beneficiary. The cost of this protection is shared by the retiree (in the form of reductions from monthly military retired pay after retirement), the government, and sometimes the beneficiary (under certain types of coverage).The amount of the SBP benefit is a percentage of retired pay. The percentage depends upon whether the member chooses full or reduced coverage at the time of election (generally at retirement or at 20-year qualification). SBP provides up to 55 percent of a service member's retired pay to an eligible beneficiary upon the death of the member. After the service member passes away, the SBP annuity is paid out monthly to the surviving spouse, or to the child or children of the member.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax-free monetary benefit generally payable to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of Servicemembers who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, or to survivors of Veterans who died from their service-connected disabilities. Parents DIC is an income-based benefit for parents who were financially dependent on of a Servicemember or Veteran who died from a service-related cause.
This new repeal will create a "phase-out" of the widows tax starting in 2021. DIC benefits will remain the same.
January 1, 2021: ⅓ of owed SBP
January 1, 2022: ⅔ of owed SBP
January 1, 2023: full benefits, child-only option phased out & those whose children “aged out” can start to receive benefits
Learn more and keep up on the news as this is phased out at: https://www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary/survivors/SBP-DIC-News