Changes Coming to Military Survivor Benefits

Changes Coming to Military Survivor Benefits

US Capitol
Photo by: Martin Falbisoner

Surviving spouses eligible for both military and veterans’ survivor benefits will see increases beginning with their Feb. 1 annuity payments. 

This is happening because of a provision in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that temporarily reduces a dollar-for-dollar offset of benefits for survivors receiving both DoD military survivor benefits and Veterans Affairs Department dependency and indemnity compensation.  

Beginning in 2021, surviving spouses will have their Survivor Benefit Plan annuity payments reduced by no more than two-thirds of the amount received in dependency and indemnity compensation. For example, someone receiving $1,300 in DIC would have their SBP reduced by about $866. Survivors will first see this in Feb. 1 payments, according to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. 

In 2022, survivors will get more, with their SBP reduced by no more than one-third of their DIC payment. 

In 2023, the offset completely ends, beginning with the Feb. 1, 2023, payments. 

Elimination of the offset is the result of years of complaints by survivors after the federal government stopped reducing military retired pay by the amount a retiree received in disability benefits. The Association of the U.S. Army supported repeal of the survivors offset. 

Details on the phased elimination of the SBP-DIC offset are available here.