Local military spouses trying to get ‘widow’s tax’ repealed

Posted at 4:40 PM, Jun 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-01 19:40:11-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Their significant others died for the country and now a contingent of military spouses are fighting to get what they say they are owed.

When Linda Walter’s husband died during active duty from a heart attack brought on by complications from agent orange in 1974, she was able to receive assistance from the government.

A widow can get about $1,300 a month tax-free from a fund run by the VA if they agree to not hold the government responsible for their partner’s death.

Walters thought she qualified for an additional payment from the Department of Defense’s survivor benefits fund but that was not the case.

“Most people don’t know it’s offset dollar by dollar,” said Walters.

A 1972 law prohibits spouses of the fallen from collection money from both the DOD and VA funds.

It’s estimated more than 65,000 Gold Star families are in a similar situation as Walters when it comes to accessing money they say their warrior has earned.

“What we’re saying is our husband’s paid into the survivor benefit program by I think it was 8% of their salary every month,” added Walters.

She was a part of a group that recently traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with politicians about a bill that would allow them to access both funds.

It’s called S. 622, the Military Widow’s Tax Elimination Act and it has 327 cosponsors in the house.

Walters says they are still looking for more support but it’s her and others like her’s hope that they can get more attention to the bill so it can pass.

“People should be aware,” said Walters.

The Pentagon says it would cost $6 billion of they eliminated the so-called ‘widow’s tax.’