Armed Forces News

The House armed services and budget committee staffs are considering ways to improve the Survivor Benefit Plan. The Military Coalition, with some 34 veteran-oriented groups, has proposed a phase-out of the current 36 percent reduction in SBP benefits that hits survivors at age 62. TMC also wants to repeal the dollar-for-dollar offset in annuities for survivors who receive dependency and indemnity compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition, it proposes ending premium payments this year instead of in 2008 for retirees who have paid for 30 years or more. And TMC would allow SBP payments for active-duty deaths to be paid to children if a surviving spouse remarries, as is done for retirees. A report is due to Congress in March from the Defense Department and the General Accounting Office that will compare SBP benefits with private sector and commercial life insurance death benefits.