Las Vegas Sun

October 23, 2017

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Letter to the editor:

Military widows treated unfairly

My husband paid premiums for 30 years into a government-sponsored Survivor Benefit Plan, which would give me 55 percent of his military retirement pension if he should precede me in death. He passed away in October 2010 due to the effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam. What I didn’t know was that since he was 100 percent disabled, as rated by Veterans Affairs, I was eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for his loss of life. This amount was taken out dollar-for-dollar of his Survivor Benefit Plan.

If I remarried over the age of 57, I would get both benefits. Divorced spouses, mothers, children or business interests can receive both payments. But the surviving spouse who doesn’t remarry does not receive both benefits.

How is this fair?

There is legislation in Congress, House Resolution 178 and Senate Bill 260, that would eliminate the offset for surviving spouses who don’t remarry. There are many co-sponsors, but it has not yet received enough support to pass into law.

The legislation should be passed this year. There isn’t an insurance company in the world that would penalize a beneficiary from getting full benefits just because they received funds from another source. Only the federal government does that — and then only to those widows and widowers who choose not to remarry.

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