Take Action: Ask Your Senator to Back Bill That Improves Survivor Benefits
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Survivors receiving pay from the Department of Veterans Affairs would see an increase in benefits under a new bill introduced by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.)
Tester’s bill, the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Improvement Act, would increase the amount of DIC paid to surviving spouses and align the benefit with other federal programs. The proposal, which could net survivors an extra $5,400 a year, has been a long-time goal of both MOAA and The Military Coalition.
Currently, DIC is paid at a monthly rate of $1,319, with additional allowances in certain circumstances. That works out to 40 percent of what a veteran with a 100 percent service-connected disability rating receives from the VA.
However, federal survivor programs provide up to 55 percent of a civil servant’s pay, computed as if the employee retired on disability at the date of death.
DIC is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to a surviving spouse and dependent children when a servicemember dies of a service-connected cause. This includes death while on active duty or death later due to an injury or disease contracted while the servicemember was on active duty.
The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee plans to work on the bill later this year.