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Can't find answer to simple question!
Old 09-29-2012, 07:16 PM   #1
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Can't find answer to simple question!

I am retired military and have elected the SBP entitlement. My wife and I both now get our own Social Security benefit each month. She will receive 55% of my base military retired pay should I predecease her. Question: Will she also be able to continue to collect her own Social Security benefit in addition to the SBP? Thanks in advance for any info.
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Old 09-29-2012, 09:21 PM   #2
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Welcome, JinAZ.

We have quite a few retired military on this forum, I 'm sure someone with answer will be along soon.

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Old 09-29-2012, 09:37 PM   #3
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not military and never heard of SBP till now but here's something from Google

The Survivor Benefit Plan Explained | Military.com

Note: A surviving spouse's SBP annuity is no longer reduced when they reach age 62 and become eligible for Social Security. The Social Security offset was phased out in 2008. Thus eliminating the need for the SSBP.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JinAZ View Post
I am retired military and have elected the SBP entitlement. My wife and I both now get our own Social Security benefit each month. She will receive 55% of my base military retired pay should I predecease her. Question: Will she also be able to continue to collect her own Social Security benefit in addition to the SBP? Thanks in advance for any info.
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Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
not military and never heard of SBP till now but here's something from Google
Note: A surviving spouse's SBP annuity is no longer reduced when they reach age 62 and become eligible for Social Security. The Social Security offset was phased out in 2008. Thus eliminating the need for the SSBP.
Yeah but.

The SBP offset caused by Social Security eligibility has indeed been phased out:
The Social Security Offset

However there's another type of SBP offset caused by receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation from the VA:
Military widows forced to remarry to get benefits - MarketWatch
http://militaryadvantage.military.co...-offset-again/

Due to the unintended consequence of the wording of the legislation, a surviving spouse (if eligible to receive DIC) could only receive SBP of they remarry. (Yes, I know this makes no sense. That's why they've been trying to change the law.) The initiative has languished in Congress for a number of sessions, but the latest Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation also picked up the issue for action.
Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation | Military Retirement & Financial Independence

I wouldn't hold my breath on that.

So the answer to your question, JinAZ, is that she'd be able to collect Social Security on the greater amount of her survivor's benefit (from your earnings record) or her own earnings record. However her SBP might be offset by her receipt of DIC.

I think the only realistic solution to this conundrum is for you to make sure that you do not die of a service-connected illness/disability. Then your spouse won't be eligible for DIC, and she'll be able to collect your full SBP.

It's a complicated situation and your personal health could affect the answer. Did that shotgun cover your question?
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Old 09-30-2012, 07:21 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Nords View Post

Due to the unintended consequence of the wording of the legislation, a surviving spouse (if eligible to receive DIC) could only receive SBP of they remarry. (Yes, I know this makes no sense. That's why they've been trying to change the law.)
Idiotic. Amazing that Congress can't even get together to make a tweak to fix an obvious mistake like this. My sister and nephew were on survivor benefits after her Naval aviator husband died in a plane crash. She lost her benefits when she remarried (at least that made some sense) but when she later divorced she got them back. To have to marry someone else to get them -- insane.
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:25 PM   #6
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Idiotic. Amazing that Congress can't even get together to make a tweak to fix an obvious mistake like this.
I can name a half-dozen times over the last 30 years where Congress has legislated military benefits with all the right intentions. However the green-eyeshade-wearing bureaucrats at DoD or BUPERS or DFAS start implementing the enabling legislation, and they can only work with the semantic content on the printed page-- not the right intentions.

I don't know if Congressional staffs are exceptionally inexperienced or the bureaucrats are exceptionally discerning. In any case, the resulting "corrective legislation" effort can take literally decades of horsetrading.
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