Armed Forces News

The House Armed Services Committee’s input to the fiscal 2005 defense authorization act takes aim at the military widow’s tax. Currently, surviving military spouses (mostly widows) who receive 55 percent of their spouses’ designated retired pay under the Survivor Benefit Plan see their annuities drop to 35 percent when they reach age 62. Survivors of federal civilian retirees, on the other hand, face no such forfeit. Under the HASC recommendations, military SBP pensions would rise to 40 percent after September 2005, to 45 percent after March 2006, 50 percent after March 2007 and 55 percent after March 2008. The Senate Armed Services Committee version contains no provisions to end the widow’s tax, but Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., was expected to present a floor amendment to the Senate authorization bill to that effect this week. Debate on the House authorization bill also is ongoing this week.