(Editor's Note: This page was updated Feb. 21 to clarify the contents of the legislation in question.)
Bills in both the House and Senate would increase the base amount of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), the benefit paid to survivors who lose their servicemember-spouse to a service-connected illness or injury.
The base amount of DIC -- currently $1340 a month, tax-free -- is fixed for all survivors. There can be some adjustments to the amount for special circumstances. DIC increases each year via an inflation-based cost of living adjustment (COLA).
The House and Senate bills, both titled the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Improvement Act, would increase the DIC amount to 55% of the compensation paid to veterans rated 100% disabled by the VA. These 100% disabled veterans now receive $3,106 a month; a change to 55% of that compensation would result in $1,708 a month for the survivor.
“This increase addresses a parity issue with other federal programs for these members of our military community,” said Col. Dan Merry, USAF (Ret), MOAA’s vice president of government relations. “Just as MOAA fought, successfully, for military survivors facing the unfair ‘widows tax’ offset, we will work to support this change in how this survivor benefit is calculated for DIC recipients.”
The Senate bill (S.1047) was introduced and referred to the Committee on Veterans Affairs in April 2019. The House bill (H.R. 3221) was introduced and referred to the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs in June 2019.