Widows Tax Reaches Milestone, Will Head to Vote Listing

Widows Tax Reaches Milestone, Will Head to Vote Listing


Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) will finally get a vote on his legislation to eliminate the widow’s tax. 

Wilson’s legislation, the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act, reached an important milestone as the bill gained its 290th cosponsor.  

Earlier this year, the House changed the rules of how it conducts its business. One of the reforms included the creation of a “consensus calendar” for bills with bipartisan support but have not been reported out of committee 

According to the rules change, when a piece of legislation gets 290 cosponsors the bill sponsor may file a motion to place it onto a calendar for a floor vote. After 25 legislative working days, the House is supposed to consider at least one bill a week from the calendar. 

The House may vote on Wilson’s bill as early as mid-July. 

“This is great news for the 66,000 military survivors affected by the widows tax,” said MOAA President and CEO, Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret). We thank Representative Wilson for his continued leadership and steadfast support for military survivors.” 

A similar bill in the Senate sponsored by Doug Jones (D-Ala.) currently has the support of 66 cosponsors. 

Under current law, the spouses of servicemembers who die on active duty or of a service-connected illness must forfeit part or all of their purchased Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity when awarded the VA’s Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). The loss of any portion of the SBP annuity is known as the widows tax. The widows tax costs some survivors as much as $12,000 a year in lost income. 

In April, more than 150 MOAA members from across the country participated in the organization’s annual Storming the Hill event. One of the topics MOAA members discussed with lawmakers was eliminating the widows tax. 

On May 22, MOAA will join representatives from prominent organizations at an all-day event to raise additional support for ending the widows tax. 

The House Armed Services Committee begins its work on the annual defense bill on June 4, where they could potentially take up the issue. 

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About the Author

James Naughton
James Naughton

James Naughton is a former Associate Director, Compensation and Legislation, for MOAA Government Relations.