Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA)

Grieving widow in cemetery
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Editor's note: The final payments of this benefit were made Jan. 3, 2023. After that, surviving family members no longer needed it because the Survivor Benefit Plan's Dependency and Indemnity Compensation offset penalty had been fully phased out. 

Surviving family members of some veterans are entitled to the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefit from the VA. This benefit is paid to survivors of those who died on active duty or was severely disabled. Military retirees can elect to provide a monthly income for their family members if they die first, this is known as the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP).

Federal regulators decided that a survivor who receives both of these payments is basically receiving two federal incomes from the same source - the deceased veteran. This is against the law.

To prevent this from happening, Congress created a temporary program known as the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) to basically do a paperwork shuffle allowing survivors to receive a portion that money.

For years, the DoD has withheld the amount of the DIC payment from a survivor's SBP check. In 2020, a law was passed which created the SSIA. The SSIA will be phased in through 2021 and 2022. By 2023, the SBP/DIC offset will be no more.

For 2022, affected survivors will receive the full DIC amount of $1,437.66 from the VA each month; DFAS will pay the SBP payment with 1/3 of the DIC payment deducted from it and an SSIA payment of up to $346 each month.

In 2023, the DIC/SBP offset will disappear, allowing survivors to receive both the full SBP payment and the full DIC payment.

Learn more about the Survivor Benefit Plan:

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