Schiff knows that military retirees have made many personal sacrifices during their careers in order to defend our nation. Servicemembers heroic efforts while serving in the Armed Forces are just the beginning: Their family members serve as well, by picking up extra responsibilities when their loved ones depart for long deployments, adjusting to new jobs and schools as they move to new duty stations, and all the other stresses of the military lifestyle. When our servicemembers retire, Schiff believes we owe it these Americans to ensure that they and their families are well-cared for. In this endeavor, he is a co-sponsor of the following legislation that will provide fairness for our military retirees' benefits Congress:
· Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act(H.R. 178): Repeals the off-set of the Survivor Benefit Program (SBP) and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) for military survivors. It also requires the payment of an annuity to a member's dependent children when there is no eligible surviving spouse. The VA pays DIC to a surviving spouse and dependent children if a member dies of a service-connected cause. If the surviving spouse is awarded DIC by the VA based on the death of the same member who provided the SBP coverage, current law requires the offset of amounts paid in DIC from SBP annuities for the surviving spouses.
· Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act(H.R. 333): Permits retired members of the Armed Forces who have a service-connected disability rated less than 50 percent to receive concurrent payment of both retired pay and veterans' disability compensation. The bill also eliminates the phase-in period for concurrent receipt, and makes permanent the eligibility for concurrent receipt for chapter 61 disability retirees with less than 20 years of service.
· Military Retiree Survivor Comfort Act(H.R. 493): Requires the United States to forgive any overpayment of military retired or retainer pay for any period after the death of the recipient through the last day of the month in which such death occurs, if such payment is electronically deposited to a joint account bearing the name of the decedent and the decedent's designated beneficiary. It also provides a special effective date for the first annuity payment to a survivor under the SBP when an overpayment is so forgiven.
· Veterans Pensions Protection Act(H.R. 923): Amends section 1503(a) of title 38, US Code to exempt the reimbursement of expenses related to accidents, theft, loss, or casualty loss from being included into the determination of a veteran's income. This bill is applicable to the VA's service pensions (wartime veterans who have limited or no income, 65 and older), disability pensions (non-service-connected disabilities, permanently and totally disabled), and death pensions (surviving spouses and children).