Here is a statement of Congresswoman Shea-Porter speaking in favor of full compensation for surviving spouses of deceased service members. Please click here to watch (you will have to click on the image.)
Prepared Statement of Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter To Support HR 1804, Which Increases the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance for Widows/Widowers of Deceased Military Service Members
April 1, 2009
Madame/Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Federal Retirement Reform Act, which contains a much needed provision to increase the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance for widows or widowers of deceased service members.
When our service members purchase a Survivor Benefit Plan to protect their families, they expect their families to receive the full annuity they paid for. Unfortunately, if the surviving spouse is eligible for VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation because of a spouse’s service-related death, the survivor benefit annuity is reduced dollar for dollar. The SBP annuity—that a service-member paid for—can be reduced drastically, often to zero. This is not acceptable.
The DIC is meant to compensate survivors for the service member’s death in service. Why would we penalize those service members who have the foresight to purchase insurance for their families?
Our military—and their families—make many sacrifices to serve and protect our nation. We owe them the benefits they earned for their service, and we most certainly owe them the SBP insurance that they purchased. They should not have to worry whether their families will be unprotected when they die. This is no way to treat those who are willing to put their lives on the line for us, and the families who serve along with them.
This bill takes another step toward eliminating this unfair “widows’ tax” that in effect punishes the families of those who sacrificed their lives.
Thank you. I yield back.