SBP/ DIC History
DIC: Congress has created programs for survivors of our military members. In 1956, the Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC) was established by the Servicemen’s and Veterans Survivor Benefit Act. David F. Burrelli ,Specialist in National Defense, stated in the CRS report for Congress (2006) “Under this Act, as amended, DIC is paid to the survivors … of servicemen or veterans who died on or after January 1, 1957, from: (1) a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in line of duty while on active duty or active duty training; or (2) an injury incurred or aggravated in line of duty while on inactive duty training; or (3) a disability compensable under laws administered by the VA.”
SBP: In 1972, Congress created the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) (Burrelli 2006). The SBP (paid by DoD) is a voluntary insurance program established to provide surviving spouses of retirement-eligible military personnel an income proportional to the members retired pay (SBP is an amount up to 55% of the retiree’s base pay.
Stated simply, DIC is an indemnity payable to survivors when a military member dies as a result of a service connected because. SBP, created in 1972, is an annuity paid to a military member’s survivor to ensure that a portion of the military member’s retirement pay will be provided to the surviving spouse after the military member’s death. These are two different survivor programs and paid for two very different purposes.
When a service member (who is alive) is determined 50% or more disabled by the VA, they can receive their VA disability payment and their military retirement, separate, no offset. This is called CONCURRENT RECEIPT; receiving both VA and DoD compensation/ retirement. Our deceased spouses are deemed 100 % disabled, per the VA, yet the concurrent receipt policy is not honored once the service member dies. This is their benefit they earned for the loved ones.
As the result of the National Defense Authorization Act Fiscal Year 2008, Congress has established a Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) for surviving spouses who are the beneficiary of the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity and their SBP annuity is partially or fully offset by the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). SSIA also applies to the surviving spouses of members who died on active duty whose SBP annuity is partially or fully offset by their DIC. For more information see our SSIA page.
Surviving spouses whose SBP annuity is suspended due to remarriage prior to age 55 are not eligible for SSIA during the suspension. If the surviving spouse regains eligibility for SBP and DIC, they will also regain eligibility for SSIA. The SBP annuity for children is not offset by DIC, so child SBP beneficiaries are not authorized SSIA.
Surviving spouses whose SBP annuity is fully or partially offset by DIC are not required to apply for SSIA. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) will automatically pay SSIA to surviving spouses whose SBP accounts show a DIC offset of their spouse SBP annuity for months starting in October. However, if you never applied for the SBP annuity, DFAS will not have an account to identify you as an SBP beneficiary eligible for payment of SSIA. If you need to apply for SBP, contact your Retirement Services Office: