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Congressman John Yarmuth

Representing the 3rd Congressional District of Kentucky

Yarmuth Amendment to Repeal the So-Called "Widow's Tax" Advances on House Floor

July 10, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON– Congressman John Yarmuth’s (KY-3) amendment to repeal the Survivor Benefit Plan-Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (SBP-DIC) offset—commonly referred to as the “Widow’s Tax”—advanced on the House floor today as members voted to approve H. Res. 476, the rule providing for consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act, which included Yarmuth’s amendment.

“I’m proud that the House took a major step forward today to help military widows, widowers, and Gold Star Families, in what is likely our lone opportunity to repeal the so-called ‘Widow’s Tax’ this year,” said Yarmuth. “Too many families who are already grieving have been forced to forfeit annuities owed to them—purchased by their fallen loved ones. After more than 40 years of inaction, we are finally advancing legislation to eliminate this injustice.”

Current law requires survivors of deceased military members to forfeit part or all of their Department of Defense Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity when they receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from the Department of Veterans Affairs. There are an estimated 64,000 people impacted by the SBP-DIC offset, which reduces surviving spouses’ benefits by an average of $1,250 per month, or $15,000 annually.

The NDAA is considered must-pass legislation for Congress, so inclusion of the Yarmuth Amendment is key to repealing the SBP-DIC offset this year.  Once the NDAA is approved by the House, a conference committee will be held with the Senate to work out any differences in their respective legislation. The House and Senate will then vote on a final conference report that will be sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

Yarmuth has served as the lead Democratic cosponsor of standalone legislation that would also eliminate the offset, H.R. 553, the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act, introduced and long championed by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC).

Video of Rep. Yarmuth’s floor speech in support of H. Res. 476 can be found here.