This week, a bipartisan effort introduced “The Post-Widows Tax Repeal SBP Open Enrollment for Service-Disabled Veterans Act.” The bill, introduced by both Florida Rep. Michael Waltz (R) and California Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D), would allow for an open re-enrollment for an estimated 1,600 veterans that withdrew from the Survivor Benefit Plan before the repeal of the “Widow’s Tax” in the FY2020 NDAA.
Further information regarding the bill was provided in a press release, explaining that “the SBP allows a retiree to ensure, after death, a continuous lifetime annuity for their dependents.” Moreover, “the annuity, which is based on a percentage of retired pay, pays an eligible beneficiary an inflation-adjusted monthly income.”
With this bill, it would create “a special open enrollment period for this targeted veteran population, allowing them to catch-up on any missed premiums, to allow their designated survivor to collect the benefit.”
In a statement, Rep. Waltz commented on the reason for the legislation, detailing that “due to the SBP/DIC offset that was in place prior to its repeal, many service-disabled veterans withdrew from the SBP and stopped paying premiums into it, believing their families would only ever benefit from the VA’s Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) program.” He added that thanks to Congress repealing the ‘Widows Tax,’ “now we must give these veterans the opportunity [to] come back so their survivors can receive the full benefits their service entitled them to.”
Panetta echoed in Waltz’s remarks, adding that although the repeal of the ‘Widow’s Tax’ will help many veterans, there currently are few who won’t receive the assistance since they withdrew from Survivor Benefit Plan before Congress acted.” “The bipartisan SBP Open Re-Enrollment bill would allow those few veterans to re-enroll in the Plan so that they can obtain their benefits.”
In turn, Panetta argued that “this is a simple, straightforward, common-sense fix for a small number of veterans and their dependents to obtain the financial assistance that they deserve.”