Military Surviving Spouses to Educate Congress on the SBP/DIC Offset Issue at MOAA Storming the Hill event

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Members of MOAA’s Auxiliary Member Advisory Committee (AMAC), joined by members of the Gold Star Wives, American Legion, Society of Military Widows, and various surviving spouse support groups, will “storm the Hill” on Wednesday, July 17 to urge their representatives and senators to repeal the SBP/DIC offset for surviving spouses.

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Martha Douthit (pictured above) was raising two teenagers when her husband, an Army officer, was killed just outside Iraq in 1991. Only later did she learn a large part of her military SBP annuity was wiped out by other conflicting laws.

In order to fully understand the importance of complete elimination of the SBP/DIC offset, it is vital that they understand the issue and its impact on surviving spouses and families,” said Vice Adm. Norbert R. Ryan, Jr., USN (Ret), president of MOAA.

Military Officers Association of America’s (MOAA) is sponsoring a Storming the Hill event to educate the 113th Congress and their legislative and military assistants on the Survivor Benefit Plan/Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (SBP/DIC) offset issue. Members of MOAA’s Auxiliary Member Advisory Committee (AMAC), joined by members of the Gold Star Wives, American Legion, Society of Military Widows, and various surviving spouse support groups, will “storm the Hill” on Wednesday, July 17 to urge their representatives and senators to repeal the SBP/DIC offset for surviving spouses.

“In order to fully understand the importance of complete elimination of the SBP/DIC offset, it is vital that they understand the issue and its impact on surviving spouses and families,” said Vice Adm. Norbert R. Ryan, Jr., USN (Ret), president of MOAA. “The ultimate goal is complete elimination of the SBP/DIC offset, and I am proud of this group of surviving spouses for their advocacy and determination,” Ryan stated.

Under current law, the surviving spouse of an active duty or retired servicemember who dies from a service-caused condition is entitled to $1,215 a month in DIC from the VA. If the military retiree also was enrolled in SBP, DIC is deducted from the surviving spouse's SBP annuity.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) have introduced S. 734 and H.R. 32, respectively, which would repeal the offset of DIC payments from SBP annuities, in the belief that when military service causes the death, the VA indemnity payment should be added to the normal SBP annuity, not subtracted from it. Sen. Nelson will attend a congressional breakfast with the “stormers” the morning of the event and Rep. Wilson has been invited as well.

After a congressional breakfast, the “stormers” will meet with their legislators and staffs to discuss the issues, provide fact sheets and brochures, and ask them to end the SBP/DIC offset. “Even in a budget-constrained environment, fair treatment for survivors of servicemembers who gave their lives for their country must not be a low funding priority,” Ryan concluded.

The schedule for the AMAC Storming the Hill Event is as follows:

Holiday Inn
2460 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 960-3400

Tuesday, July 16, 2013
5 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. – Meet and greet at Holiday Inn
5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. – Pre-briefing for July 17 (agenda, schedule, and materials)
6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Dinner buffet banquet

Wednesday, July 17, 2013
7:30 a.m. – Buses (provided by MOAA) depart hotel for Capitol Hill
8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. – Congressional breakfast at the Rayburn Bldg. Sen. Nelson will attend, and Rep. Wilson has been invited.

9 a.m. – 10 a.m. –
Program
Welcome/Introductions
SBP/DIC recipients’ testimonials
MOAA Staff SBP/DIC education brief
Q-and-A session

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. – Storming the Hill

To register, please visit http://www.moaa.org/amacstorming. Registration is open until June 30.
Check out MOAA’s brochure Undue Sacrifice.

Check out MOAA’s Survivor Benefit Plan/Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (SBP/DIC) offset for Survivors fact sheet.

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About MOAA:
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is the nation’s largest officers association with more than 380,000 members from every branch of service, including active duty, retired, National Guard, Reserve, and former officers and their families and survivors. MOAA is a nonprofit and politically nonpartisan organization and an influential force in promoting a strong national defense. MOAA represents the interests of service members and their families in every stage of their lives and careers, and for those who are not eligible to join MOAA, Voices for America’s Troops is a nonprofit MOAA affiliate that supports a strong national defense. For more information, visit http://www.moaa.org.

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