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Military surviving spouses equity act

Posted May 01 2009 10:39pm
Hi, I'd like to pass along a message from a friend.

REP Ortiz, of TX has introduced HR775, the Military surviving spouses equity act, to stop decreasing the amount of money that is received by veterans' widows.

Current law acts in this way: Survivors of veterans killed in the war receive funds under the Survivor Benefit Plan, however, if they receive veterans' Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, this sum offsets (reduces) the amount of money given to widows and orphans. HR775 would correct this.

Progress on the bill is here: (and you can read the full text)

http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h775/show

Here is a letter of support from a variety of veterans' organizations:

http://www.roa.org/site/DocServer/090113_nmva_sbp.pdf?docID=14281

I would think this issue was a chip shot, but surprisingly a similar bill, HR1589, failed 2 years ago:

http://www.washingtonwatch.com/bills/show/110_HR_1589.html

Anyway, look into it, and see if it is something you would support.

Thanks,

Chris





(begin quoted message)

Friends & Family,
My apologies if you've received this already or have been invited to "join the cause" on Facebook. This affects a dear friend of mine, she lost her husband in the war two years ago and is raising 3 kids under the age of 10 on her own now - please help me out with this!
We are organizing a letter writing / e-mail campaign to help the widows and widowers who have lost a spouse in the military. We are urging Congress to pass the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act (HR 775) so that widows and widowers can rightfully receive the Survivor Benefit Plan ("SBP" - like an insurance plan) that their spouses paid into during their military career. Currently, there are 54,000 widows and widowers who should be receiving these annuities, but, as a result of the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation ("DIC") they are receiving upon becoming a widow / widower, the government has applied an "offset" and those surviving spouses are not receiving the SBP. This is wrong. The SBP payments should not be offset, they have been paid for by the servicemen and women of the military as a benefit for their families in the event of their death. The House of Representatives has just voted an increase in the Special Survivors Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) and that is encouraging that the widows and widowers are having their voices heard. This will not solve the problem, however, the SBP / DIC offset needs to be eliminated so that these surviving spouses receive all of the funds they are entitled to. Please help by sending an e-mail or a letter to your representatives and even to President Obama (if you'd like to do more, contact me and I have many more politicians we can e-mail) . Thank you for your help, please forward this on to as many people as you can - we can get this fixed!
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1. Go to www.house.gov/writerep to get the e-mail or address for your government representatives
2. Copy and paste the text into your letter and send it off
3. Forward this email on to as many people as you can
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To write to President Obama:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

or go to: www.whitehouse.gov/contact ================================

TEXT FOR LETTER: COPY AND PASTE:

================================



Dear Representative ______________,

Thank you for your attention to this very important matter. Although progress is being made, more needs to be done and can be done to support the 54,000 widows and widowers affected by the SBP / DIC offset.

Please pass the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act (HR 775) (and S.535, it’s companion bill in the Senate). This act will eliminate the SBP / DIC offset outright and is the only manner by which to truly address the problem and restore the earned retired pay to surviving spouses of those who paid premiums for it or who paid for it with their lives. Raising the SSIA via a provision in HR 1804 will certainly give some financial relief for the military widows and widowers. However, the increase in the SSIA runs the risk of excluding those not currently affected by SBP / DIC offset.

In order to have the resources to raise their children now, many widows / widowers were forced to elect the "child option" over the "spouse option", effectively eliminating the offset - but only while their children are young. Once their children have reached adulthood, the SBP is terminated altogether, leaving the widow / widower without the SBP for which their military spouse paid premiums during his / her service.

As is often the case, the simplest solution is the right solution - pass the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act (HR 775). We will never be able to restore these families to what they were, but we can ensure they receive the SBP benefit that is rightfully theirs.

Thank you.

Sincerely,


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Thank you for reading my blog via FeedBurner! To learn more about our book "Made a Difference for That One: A Surgeon's Letters from Iraq" which benefits Fisher House home for injured veterans, visit the blog at http://www.madeadifference.blogspot.com
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