Understanding New Rules for Remarriage Benefits

Understanding New Rules for Remarriage Benefits
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A law signed in January reduced the surviving spouse remarriage age to retain Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) eligibility from 57 to 55, ending a long and confusing disparity between similar benefits for surviving spouses – DIC and the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP).


However, the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020, a MOAA-supported measure that took effect Jan. 5, 2021, did not grandfather surviving spouses who remarried prior to that date. To be eligible to retain DIC benefits under the new law, the surviving spouse must attain the age of 55 on or before the date of remarriage. 


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As with all remarriages causing the suspension of SBP and/or DIC benefits (now prior to the age of 55 for both benefits), if that marriage ends in death or divorce, the benefits can be reinstated by contacting the Defense Finance Accounting Service (DFAS) or Coast Guard pay agencies (for SBP) or the VA (for DIC). 


SBP is a DoD-sponsored and -subsidized program that provides up to 55% of a servicemember's retired pay to an eligible beneficiary upon the death of the member. Learn more about the benefit from MOAA at this link.


DIC is the VA’s program to compensate dependents if a service-connected disability was the cause of the veteran’s death. Survivors of veterans rated 100% totally and permanently disabled for at least the last 10 years of the veteran’s life are DIC-eligible regardless of the cause of death.  Learn more about the benefit from MOAA at this link.


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About the Author

Capt. Paul J. Frost, AFC®, USN (Ret)
Capt. Paul J. Frost, AFC®, USN (Ret)

Frost co-leads MOAA's Financial and Benefits Education program and is also an accredited Veteran Service Officer (VSO), providing VA disability compensation claim and appeal information and advice to the military community.