American Legion Post #50 sponsored a trip to DC for Dr. James and Ms. Carol Stutts to join a group from the Military Officers Association of America and the Gold Star Wives to lobby Senators and Congressman. The mission was clear; to correct an injustice. Did you know that when military members, whether active duty or disabled and retired pass away, their survivors are subject to a penalty referred to as the SBP/DIC offset? Lt. Col (ret.) Stutts had no idea and neither did his wife Carol until reading about it while visiting a Gold Star Wives web page. Basically, $1,215.00 is deducted from the Survivors Benefit Plan (SBP) that the military member opts and pays for as a result of the military member being disabled and the widow(er)s eligibility for a benefit from the Veterans Administration known as Disability Indemnity Compensation (DIC). This accounts for a loss of income of $14,580 this year for those who were counting on this.
How many are affected? At the dinner the evening prior to the event the number of widow(er)s affected was estimated to be 61,000. If you divide that between 50 states you will see the number is not that high. There is no reason for widow(er)s of WW2, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, The Gulf War to continue to be subject to this outrageous penalty. In fact the legislators corrected this for Federal Employee’s who retire and receive VA compensation, but didn’t bother to include the military; the very men and women who put their life on the line. If a person left the military and was healthy enough to pursue another career and receive a retirement, but later develop an illness that is directly related to their service; they are not subject to this offset either. Only those military members who made the military their career prior to becoming disabled.
While in DC the Stutts met with Senator McConnell and Congressman Andy Barr briefly, as well as the staff of all legislators for the state of Kentucky. While they were busy doing this there were approximately 100 others meeting with their state legislators. While many were convinced to sign H.R. 32 and S. 734, only one has signed on as of this date from KY : John Yarmouth. We ask the public to get involved and contact legislators and ask them to co-sponsor and vote on H.R. 32 and/or S. 734.
For information regarding this story you are welcome to contact: Dr. James or Carol Stutts at 859-986-3267. For information regarding the American Legion Post #50 in Berea, KY meetings are held 7PM the first Wednesday of the month at 101 Holly Street, Berea.
Written and submitted by: Carol Stutts [email protected]