November 26, 2020
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       Florida Senate - 2010                                    SM 1328
       
       
       
       By Senator Storms
       
       
       
       
       10-01336-10                                           20101328__
    1                           Senate Memorial                         
    2         A memorial to the Congress of the United States,
    3         urging Congress to amend federal law to eliminate the
    4         offset for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
    5         administered by the United States Department of
    6         Veterans Affairs imposed on benefits received by
    7         military widows and widowers through the Survivor
    8         Benefit Plan administered by the United States
    9         Department of Defense.
   10  
   11         WHEREAS, President Abraham Lincoln advised the nation in
   12  his second inaugural address to “care for him who shall have
   13  borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan,” and
   14         WHEREAS, in 1957 Congress established the Dependency and
   15  Indemnity Compensation (DIC) program in the Department of
   16  Veterans Affairs for survivors of servicemembers who died as the
   17  result of military service, and
   18         WHEREAS, the stated purpose of DIC was to compensate for
   19  the loss of family income and to indemnify the deceased
   20  servicemember’s family for the pain, suffering, and diminished
   21  quality of life caused by the servicemember’s death, and
   22         WHEREAS, DIC payments to surviving spouses are based on the
   23  individual servicemember’s pay grade and time in service, and
   24         WHEREAS, in 1972, Congress created the Survivor Benefit
   25  Plan (SBP) within the Department of Defense as a retirement
   26  benefit earned when a servicemember died on active duty as
   27  “retired eligible” with 20 years of military service, retired
   28  with a disability retirement of less than 20 years of military
   29  service, or retired with 20 years of military service, and
   30         WHEREAS, SBP is an insurance-style program created to be
   31  similar to the federal Civil Service Retirement System’s
   32  survivor benefit plan that allows eligible servicemembers and
   33  military retirees to elect to have premiums deducted from their
   34  pay in order to provide the servicemember’s family with a
   35  continued portion of his or her earned retirement pay after the
   36  servicemember’s death, and
   37         WHEREAS, since 1972 there have been a number of legislative
   38  actions and court cases that have had an impact on both the
   39  Department of Veterans Affairs’ Dependency and Indemnity
   40  Compensation program, the Department of Defense’s Survivor
   41  Benefit Plan, and what is commonly referred to as the “DIC-SBP
   42  offset,” and
   43         WHEREAS, at present, military widows and widowers who are
   44  eligible to receive both DIC and SBP are being unfairly deprived
   45  of monetary benefits to which they are entitled through the
   46  reduction, in the form of an offset, of Dependency and Indemnity
   47  Compensation from benefits they receive through the United
   48  States Department of Defense’s Survivor Benefit Plan, and
   49         WHEREAS, however, this offset is not imposed upon veterans
   50  or military retirees employed as civil servants by the Federal
   51  Government who enroll in the Federal Civil Service survivor
   52  benefit plan and die of service-connected causes, and
   53         WHEREAS, many of these military widows and widowers have
   54  their entire annuity eliminated by the DIC-SBP offset, and
   55         WHEREAS, many of these military widows and widowers are
   56  elderly and live on a fixed income and, as a result of the DIC
   57  SBP offset, are being deprived of their full benefits, thus
   58  further compounding their pain and suffering by making them bear
   59  an unjust financial hardship, and
   60         WHEREAS, in 2009, a Federal Court of Appeals affirmed the
   61  findings of the United States Court of Federal Claims in Sharp
   62  v. United States, recognizing a partial repeal of the DIC-SBP
   63  offset and directing the Department of Defense to pay full
   64  survivor benefit plan annuities to widows and widowers who
   65  remarry on or after December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining
   66  age 57, and
   67         WHEREAS, however, over 53,000 military widows and widowers
   68  are still subject to the DIC-SBP offset, and
   69         WHEREAS, this nation should never fail to recognize and
   70  acknowledge the need for the equitable and appropriate care and
   71  treatment of military widows and widowers whose spouses have
   72  died in battle defending the United States or as a result of
   73  service-connected causes in service to our nation, and
   74         WHEREAS, to that end, it is imperative that Congress amend
   75  federal law to eliminate the offset for Dependency and Indemnity
   76  Compensation administered by the United States Department of
   77  Veterans Affairs imposed on benefits received by military widows
   78  and widowers through the United States Department of Defense’s
   79  Survivor Benefit Plan, NOW, THEREFORE,
   80  
   81  Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   82  
   83         That the Congress of the United States is requested to
   84  amend federal law to eliminate the offset for Dependency and
   85  Indemnity Compensation established within the Department of
   86  Veterans Affairs imposed on benefits received by military widows
   87  and widowers through the United States Department of Defense’s
   88  Survivor Benefit Plan.
   89         BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be
   90  dispatched to the President of the United States, to the
   91  President of the United States Senate, to the Speaker of the
   92  United States House of Representatives, and to each member of
   93  the Florida delegation to the United States Congress.

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