AUSA’s Sullivan urges elimination of SBP inequities 

2/11/2011 

Emphasizing the Association of the United Sates Army’s strong opposition to survivor benefit inequities that are contained in current law, Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., AUSA president, has written members of Congress supporting their legislation that would not only address these inequities, but also eliminate them.

In letters to Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Budget Committee, and Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., a member of the House Armed Service Committee, Sullivan said their proposed legislation – S.260 and H.R. 178, respectively – would repeal the law requiring a dollar-for-dollar deduction of veterans’ benefits for service-connected deaths from military survivors’ Survivor Benefit Plan annuity.

The proposed legislation would also prohibit the Department of Defense (DoD) from recouping retired pay refunds previously paid to SBP recipients

Sullivan said in his letters, “On behalf of the more than 100,000 members of the Association of the United States Army, I write to thank you for introducing [this] legislation.” …

“[AUSA] believes that if military service caused a member’s death, the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) that the VA pays their survivor should be added to the SBP benefits the disabled retiree paid for, not substituted for them.”

Adding, “In the case of members who died on active duty, a surviving spouse with children can avoid the dollar-for-dollar offset only by assigning SBP to their children. That forces the spouse to give up any SBP claim after the children attain their majority – leaving the spouse with only a $1,154 monthly indemnity from the VA.

“Surely those who gave their lives for their country deserve fairer compensation for their surviving spouses.

“The elimination of this survivor benefit inequity is a top AUSA legislative goal for 2011. We strongly support your legislation and urge your colleagues to add their names as cosponsors.”

Following the Association’s Annual Meeting and Exposition in late October, AUSA chapter delegates ratified resolution 11-04, Military Retirement, that urges Congress to authorize full Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and Dependents Indemnity Compensation (DIC) entitlements to survivors of members whose death was service connected and retention of DIC upon remarriage after age 55 – not 57 as it exists in current law

The resolution further states the law should be repealed that reduces military SBP annuities by the amount of any survivor benefits payable from the DIC program.

Both bills are seeking cosponsors in the Senate and House.