The “widow’s tax” is a government policy that refuses widows of veterans who died from a military service related cause to collect:
- Military survivor’s benefits (retirement pay); and
- The full annuity (basically an insurance policy) purchased when their military spouses were alive.
The Senate has voted to eliminate this “tax” every year since 2005, but at the last minute every year the bill ends up being written in private, and both the House and Senate drop the vote. The widows lobbying for the abolition of the “tax” are told every year there is no funding for them. There are approximately 54,000 survivors being affected by the policy, and with the ongoing current wars, that number is growing.
Politicians, however, keep promising they will help. The widows continue to find politicians to champion their cause at least in the short term, and they are always left flat in the end. Both Nancy Pelosi and President Obama, while still an Illinois Senator, took up the cause and promised to help the widows. Neither one of them have taken any steps to follow through with their promise.
Congress could help the widows, but it would take a massive vote. In the very least, the widows would like to see enough politicians with enough political will to promote this issue to the level on which it deserves to be recognized. Congress did take action in 2008 and granted survivors $50 more per month than what they were receiving and the widows consider that somewhat of a victory.
Perhaps one day Congress will see that taking care of the families of dead soldiers sent to defend this country as enough of a priority to take action. The widows have amassed 300 co-sponsors for their legislation in the House and at least 50 in the Senate. Now it is just a waiting game to see if Congress will pass it into law.
Learn more about the widow’s tax and its progression through Congress.
If you are a surviving family member of a deceased veteran, you may be entitled to certain benefits. The law office of LaVan & Neidenberg may be able to help, contact our veterans disability rights firm today.