House lawmakers are promising a legislative fix in coming days to prevent military widows from losing thousands of dollars in federal assistance checks next year.
Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s personnel panel, said he anticipates next week’s final draft of the annual defense authorization bill will include an extension of the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance, a monthly payout to military widows and widowers.
“We’re very close. It has to be done,” he told reporters Wednesday. “I believe we’ll find an offset.”
Without an extension, the SSIA is scheduled to expire in October 2017. That would cost recipients up to $310 a month, a sizable sum for surviving spouses living off a single income.
Congress approved the special allowance in 2008 as a way to make up for Survivor Benefit Plan and Dependency/Indemnity Compensation payout problems. Under federal rules, when those dependents qualify for both programs, portions of the payments are offset, costing grieving families up to $15,000 a year.
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