Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) praised legislation approved by the U.S. House of Representatives that would reduce the so-called “widow’s tax”, a benefits offset that affects the surviving spouses of service members who have died as a result of service-connected conditions.  

 “This legislation is latest step in our continuing effort to eliminate the so-called ‘widow’s tax’, which has long denied surviving family members the full payment of their Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) benefits,” said Skelton.

 “I am grateful to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Ed Towns for working with me on this initiative.  Chairman Towns’ cooperation made it possible to find the funding needed in order to change the law.  I would also like to commend Congressman Solomon Ortiz, who has introduced legislation on the SBP offset and has been a great leader and advocate for the military families affected by this issue,” said Skelton.

 “While I regret that this bill does not completely end the offset, the House Committee on Armed Services will continue to explore every opportunity to pursue legislation that brings us closer to eliminating the ‘widow’s tax’,  just as we did today with the help of Chairman Towns,” said Skelton.

  H.R. 1804, the Federal Retirement Reform Act, was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on a voice vote.  Title II of HR 1804 would increase the monthly amounts paid under the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance to surviving spouses or former spouses of deceased service members who are denied the full amount of their annuity under the Survivor Benefit Program (SBP) due to the offset required by the receipt of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

H.R. 1804 would incrementally increase the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance, beginning in fiscal year 2010 with a $35 increase resulting in a monthly payment of $95, and concluding in fiscal year 2016 with a $245 increase resulting in a monthly payment of $345.