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House Bill Would Increase Certain Military Survivor Benefits

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Subject: [VeteranIssues] House Bill Would Increase Certain Military Survivor BenefitsDate: May 18, 2009 12:44 PM

House Bill Would Increase Certain Military Survivor Benefits

A new bipartisan House bill would—if passed into law—increase benefits the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pays to widows and widowers whose spouses died while on active military duty or as the result of a service-connected injury or illness. The measure, the Surviving Spouses’ Benefit Improvement Act of 2009 (H.R. 2243) was introduced earlier this month by Reps. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., and Tim Walz, D-Minn. It is designed to eliminate an offset between the VA benefit and a military survivor benefit. The bill would increase Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) by 12 percent so that the base rate of DIC is equal to 55 percent of the rate of compensation paid to a totally disabled veteran. As a result, the ratio would be equivalent to that which is paid to survivors of federal civilian employees who are killed while performing their duties. Lawmakers noted that career military retirees pay approximately 6.5 percent of their retired pay to ensure that their family has a guaranteed income. If the retiree dies due to a service-connected disability, the person’s survivor also becomes eligible for DIC—but to accept DIC, the law requires an equal cut in the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), which is a purchased annuity. The bill deems such cuts as unfair because the two benefits have separate and distinct purposes; SBP is like premium-based life insurance, and DIC is compensation for a service-connected death, Buyer said. “While their sacrifices are not readily discernible, spouses of seriously disabled veterans often limit their own careers and other opportunities to serve as caregivers,” Buyer said. To see more, go to: www.house.gov/apps/list/press/in04_buyer/bill_increases_

widows_widowers_benefits.html.

"Keep on, Keepin' on"

Dan Cedusky, Champaign IL "Colonel Dan"

See my web site at:

http://www.angelfire.com/il2/VeteranIssues/

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