Senator Boxer: Repeal the “Widow’s Tax”   

Thursday, February 17, 2011  

Dear Friend:

I recently joined Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and a bipartisan group of colleagues in introducing S.260, which would repeal a requirement that unfairly prevents the widows and widowers of our service men and women from receiving their full benefits.

As you may know, survivors of service members who die from a service-related injury are entitled to Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), a monthly tax-free cash payment from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Surviving spouses may also be eligible to receive benefits under the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP).  Military retirees who enroll in the SBP elect to have premiums deducted from their monthly retirement pay so that their survivors can receive a monthly payment after their death.  

If the survivor of a military retiree is also eligible for and receives DIC, the SBP payment is currently reduced dollar for dollar by the DIC amount – an unfair penalty commonly known as the “SBP-DIC offset” or the “widow’s tax.”

S.260 would repeal the widow’s tax.  This is a matter of simple fairness.  Military retirees pay for the Survivor Benefit Plan with their premiums and for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation with their lives.  If they do both, it is grossly unfair to penalize their survivors.

You can count on me to work with my colleagues to enact this bipartisan bill in the 112th Congress.  Our service members and their families have given so much to the nation – the least we can do is ensure that their survivors get the benefits they have earned and deserve.


Barbara Boxer, US Senator, California
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer