WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate passed U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) measure to repeal the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) offset -- also known as the “Widow’s Tax” -- over a three-year period, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This tax has kept surviving military spouses from getting the benefits their loved ones earned while serving. Brown’s provision will specifically help Gold Star families, who have lost a servicemember in the line of duty or service-connected death, to receive the full survivor benefits that they paid for and earned. The measure was first introduced by Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) and Brown is a cosponsor. The NDAA has passed the House and Senate and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“Gold Star families have sacrificed so much for this country and nothing should get in the way of providing them with benefits that they have paid into and earned,” said Senator Brown. “It is past time for us to do the right thing and repeal the Widow’s Tax so they are no longer penalized.”
Brown was joined today ahead of the Senate vote by Kimberly Hazelgrove, an Ohio Army veteran and advocate, whose husband died in Iraq, and their son Brandon. As a result of the SBP/DIC offset, Kimberly has not be able to receive the survivor benefits her husband earned from service.
“Retired service members paid premiums out of their retirement pay to get those benefits for their surviving spouse if they died in the line of duty. It’s not our benefit. It’s our deceased service member’s benefit that they earned that the government stripped away. I’m glad Congress is finally making this right for all the surviving military spouses and their families,” said Kimberly Hazelgrove.