SBP-DIC Offset After Sharp Lawsuit

Jun 02 2010

Published by at 8:46 am under Military Benefits,VA Benefits

Survivors of military members have an opportunity for two forms of survivors’ benefits.  The most common is the purchased benefit called the Survivor Benefit Program (SBP) where the military member pays premiums from retired pay.  Currently serving members are covered by SBP automatically.  The other is a program ran by Veteran Affairs (VA) called Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC).  DIC is paid to survivors whose spouse died of Service-connected causes.

If a survivor qualifies for DIC and is covered by SBP, the DIC amount is subtracted from the SBP amount.  This is known as the SBP-DIC Offset.  MOAA has fought against this offset for some time and continues to fight against the offset on Capitol Hill.

In August 2009, 3 survivors fought in the courts against the offset for their specific situation and won.  They realized the law was worded differently for survivors who remarried after age 57.  In this specific case, the law does not stipulate an offset.  As a result, all survivors remarried after age 57 now receive full SBP and DIC payments.

As for the rest of you, MOAA now has a new argument in fighting for the elimination of the SBP-DIC offset given the Sharp case.  In addition to the Sharp case in 2008, Congress admitted the offset was wrong but rather than eliminate the offset (which Congress claims is too expensive) they passed legislation that authorized a supplemental payment as a compromise to help restore some of the SBP benefit denied by the offset.

This program is known as Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA).  SSIA is administered by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) as is SBP.  Here is the payment schedule for the SSIA:

Beginning                     Monthly Amount

October 2008                          $50
October 2009                          $60
October 2010                          $70
October 2011                          $80
October 2012                          $90
October 2013                          $100
October 2014                          $150
Increases thru 2017
October 2017                          $310

The SSIA is one foot in the door for the repeal of the offset. The Sharp case is another foot in the door. Elected representatives agree in principal for the repeal of the offset but the impediment has been the last minute consensus on how to pay for the offset elimination.  The fight will go on.

For more on the Sharp case, see this DFAS article.  General information on SBP can be found in this DFAS booklet.

68 responses so far

68 Responses to “SBP-DIC Offset After Sharp Lawsuit”

  1. Darlene Lavigneon 20 Sep 2012 at 10:31 am

    Please help I need all up dates on sbp/doc off set.

  2. Betty Brownon 17 Feb 2013 at 10:45 am

    My husband passed away 9/10/2010. He was rated 100 percent service connected disabled. He served in Vietnam and was exposed to Agent Orange. After his death, and it took months, after much paperwork being lost and resubmitted, that I finally got DIC. I received a refund of all SPB my husband paid and then started getting $70 a month. I was told that if they passed the law whereby I could get both SPB and DIC, the refund I received would have to be repaid before I could receive DIC. If the lawmakers had done their jobs for these brave men and women who put their lives on the line for their country and family, this would not be the case. I am now 75 and do not plan to remarry as when I lost him, I lost the love of my life. I think of him everyday and especially the time he served. He was so proud to serve his country.

  3. Darleneon 04 Apr 2013 at 11:28 pm

    Ok now were is everyone. we must FIGHT. to get what is OURS. Like our BRAVE husbands and wifes did for our Great U.S.A They gave ALL and we get what for it PENALIZE

  4. Sueon 24 Jan 2014 at 4:15 pm

    January 2014 – this STILL has not been corrected. Again both House & Senate passed the bill to eliminate the SBP offset only to have it stuck in committee for lack of funding.

    Personally I consider it a joke when my representatives try to impress me by saying they voted for it, knowing the history of like bills dying in committee.

    What about the surviving widows under age 57? Why put an age limit on who receives the full SBP their military spouses paid for?

    The SBP offset is wrong and needs to be thrown out!

  5. Mary Kellyon 28 Jan 2014 at 11:20 am

    Would this be like a reverse discrimination type of condition. Such as married not married. Why would Congress opt in for married. Because they knew a lot widows were too old and sick to get married again. To take care of a sick husband etc. So the bill exempted unmarried survivors. Is there any iscrimination laws that protect people like us.

  6. jeannie Francison 07 Apr 2014 at 10:00 am

    Does anyone know how they came up with the time frame for when a spouse can be covered? Why is it that a spouse has to wait a year to be covered under SBP? My husband died of a service connected death and we were married 10 months but living together for 7 yrs. I have been denied his SBP but they were taken it out of his retirement pay. Has anyone been through this process? Need help in this issue. I know I am not alone in this.
    Thank you

  7. jeannie Francison 07 Apr 2014 at 10:19 am

    M Howard please email me if there is a class action suit started I like to be apart of this. is my email address

  8. ellen harron 04 May 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I would like to know how all you found out about sbp, my husband was in the air force for 20 years and I never heard of sbp till after he died in 2011, I found out about sbp and dic when I went to the va office, I was shocked to say the least. I have since found out I should have been notified of his election, not one word did I hear. it makes me wonder what they said to him to encourage him to decline the sbp. he was so sick the last 10 years we didn’t talk about money, he told me several times to call a number he gave me to find out how much I would draw if he should go first, so I just knew the money was taken care of. he went first and I’m left with nothing, can’t even pay my bills. I read that in 1972-76 how then air force was not notifing the spouses of their husband election. I think that was really low down. the letter I read said that if the air force wives found out about this it would break the nation.

  9. Mary Kellyon 04 Jun 2014 at 4:47 am

    DOD is using the pay as you go rule to keep widows from getting any SBP if offset by DIC. Well our husbands have done paid it one time.

  10. Andersonon 08 Sep 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Wondering where the funds would come from to pay the Surviving Spouses, The Spouses receiving SBP now, where is the funds coming from? If the Military Sponsor was well and living where would their monthly pay come from? The Money was there until the day they were no longer living. What happened to it. It’s the same money but it gets used instead of paying the rightful Surviving Spouses.

  11. Shane Ostrom, CFP®on 09 Sep 2014 at 7:30 am

    Anderson, in a process similar to Social Security payments, current SBP premiums go directly to current survivors. The current SBP premiums account for about 60% of the need to current survivors and the other 40% is subsidized by the govt. Premiums paid by a participant are not pooled and waiting to be used by the survivor after the death of the participant. Shane

  12. Adrienne K. Wallson 14 Feb 2015 at 11:16 pm

    I am also a surviving widow of a Vietnam Viet – My husband passed away on 10/30/2001. He passed away from Colon Cancer – After he died I filed a claim for DIC and was denied for at least 7 times. I have been doing some research and found 3 law suits where widows have won their DIC from colon cancer being related to agent orange. I submitted this information along with an Independent Medical Review of my husband medical records from an independent oncologist

    Now I am facing if I do win and receive the DIC Benefits I will have my SBP Benefits reduced. I agree that these benefits should not be reduced because our husbands took this out so that we could have a supplement of income after they passed away.

    If our husband’s passed away from a service connected disability why would we not be entitled to DIC also.

    Write or send E-mails to your congressman and senators and house of representations.

    Ask them when is this DIC/SBP Benefit bill be introduced into the 114 th Congress.

    Thank you

    Adrienne K. Walls

  13. Robin J. Priceon 24 Feb 2015 at 2:45 pm

    This is my first visit to this site. My husband, who recently died, served in WW II, Korea and Viet Nam. DIC was just awarded to me. I strongly agree that the SBP/DIC is unfair and abusive to spouses. It is my deep hope that all our grievances concerning this matter will culminate in a class action lawsuit. I’ll return to this site frequently to monitor any movement towards that. I would proudly join you.

  14. Shane Ostrom, CFP®on 25 Feb 2015 at 7:35 am

    Thank you and welcome aboard. We won’t give up the fight. Shane

  15. Robin J. Priceon 28 Feb 2015 at 1:49 pm

    No bill concerning a change in the offset of SBP/DIC has been introduced in the 114th Congress. I have contacted our two senators here in Texas and urge each of you to contact yours. Going unheard will reap nothing! rjp

  16. Nona Chubboyon 16 Aug 2015 at 12:22 pm

    How about two Military Widows who are not receiving full DIC & SBP were over 75 years old & got married by a Justice—would they be able to receive all their benefits like the widows in California, or would they have to move to that State to be recognized for these benefits? Room for thought?

  17. Nona Chubboyon 16 Aug 2015 at 12:27 pm

    I have tried everything but this, marry another widow who is not receiving full SBP & DIC like me, by a Jutice of the Piece and get my full benefits like the 3 widows in California.

  18. Monika Romanson 30 Mar 2016 at 7:57 pm

    My husband passed away in Oct.2012 from service connected condition. It had never occurred to me, that I would not receive SBP. My husband thought he “made SURE’ I would be taken care of, should something happen to him.We paid into the fund for many years. I am receiving DIC, but just because I am not remarried, I do not get what I feel is rightfully mine. Why isn’t anyone listening? I have contacted Senators and Congressmen numerous times. They just regurgitate the same answers, ‘its the law’. Well who makes the law, why can we only change it to select few? I wish we could start a class action suit!