Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA)

Army Reserve: Drilling

Benefit Fact Sheet

Summary

The Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) is a benefit for Surviving Spouses who receive a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity that is offset by a Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payment from the VA. 

Eligibility

Surviving Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) Eligibility:

  • Surviving Spouses who receive a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity that is offset by a Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payment from the VA.

  • Child annuitants are not eligible to receive SSIA, DIC payments to Children do not affect SBP Child annuitant payments,

  • Surviving Spouses eligibility is suspended if a Surviving Spouse remarries before age 55, but eligibility is restored if that marriage ends by death or divorce.

  • Surviving Spouses remarriage after age 57 allows a Surviving Spouse authorized both SBP and DIC to receive SBP without an offset by DIC. Remarriage after age 57 thus eliminates the SBP/DIC offset and SSIA is terminated.

*SSIA was made permanent in The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2018. The NDAA contained a provision to amend section 1450 of USC Title 10 to permanently extend the authority to pay SSIA with an annual cost-of-living adjustment.

Reserve and National Guard Soldiers on Inactive Duty Training

Surviving Spouses who are eligible for to receive a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity due to an LOD Yes that is offset by a Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payment from the VA due to service-connected Death.

Reserve and National Guard Soldiers in non-drilling status with at least 20 years of service

Surviving Spouses who are eligible to receive RCSBP if the Reserve or National Guard Soldier enrolled with Option B or Option C when they received 20-Year Letter; or received the 20 year letter, are within the 90 day period, but have not made an RCSBP election; or should have received a 20 year letter and the RCSBP is offset by a Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payment from the VA due to service connected Death.

Reserve and National Guard Soldiers at age 60 who had enrolled in RCSBP with Options B or C

Surviving Spouses who are eligible to receive RCSBP if the Reserve or National Guard Soldier enrolled with Option B or Option C and the RCSBP is offset by a Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payment from the VA due to service-connected Death.

Benefit Highlights

When DFAS is informed by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) a Surviving Spouse receiving an SBP annuity is receiving DIC, the law requires that DFAS deduct the amount of DIC received from the amount of SBP payable and pay the remaining amount of the SBP to the annuitant. This is called the SBP/DIC offset. SSIA is payable when the offset begins.

SSIA is now a permanent benefit. The benefit will now be paid at $323 per month (2020 rate) plus a cost-of-living adjustment each calendar year.

The Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) is a benefit for Surviving Spouses who receive a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity that is offset by a Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payment from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

In 2018 the benefit paid was $310 per month plus a cost-of-living adjustment each calendar year. The cost-of-living adjustment began in 2019. It can be confusing to understand how SBP, DIC, and SSIA are paid, and how the laws and regulations treat different situations. Here are the basics:

Spouse SBP annuitants, except for those who remarry after age 57 (or in other specific circumstances), cannot receive full SBP and DIC at the same time (DIC payments made directly to Children, or to a guardian on behalf of Children, do not affect SBP Child annuity payments).

When DFAS is informed by the VA that a Spouse receiving an SBP annuity is receiving DIC, the law requires that DFAS deduct the amount of DIC received from the amount of SBP payable and pay the remaining amount of the SBP to the annuitant. This is called the SBP/DIC offset.

If the SBP payment is greater than the DIC payment, a partial refund of premiums paid into the program during the Service member's retirement will be made to the Spouse.

If the DIC payment is greater than the SBP payment, SBP will be stopped completely and all eligible basic Spouse premiums paid into the program during the Service member's retirement will be refunded.

When a Spouse is eligible to receive SBP and DIC, and those payments are subject to the SBP/DIC offset, the Spouse will also receive the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA).

As with other laws and regulations, there are many exceptions and special circumstances that apply to these benefits. For additional information, please go to the DFAS Understanding SBP, DIC and SSIA webpage .

Additional Information

Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operations Division (CMAOD):
https://www.hrc.army.mil/content/Casualty%20and%20Mortuary%20Affairs%20Operations%20Division%20(CMAOD)

To obtain a detailed estimate of your survivor benefits, including SBP payments to eligible dependents, visit the MyArmyBenefits Survivor Calculator (CAC or DS Logon account needed):
https://MyArmyBenefits.us.army.mil/benefit-calculators/survivor-benefits

DFAS “Understanding SBP-DIC-SSIA” website:
https://www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary/survivors/Understanding-SBP-DIC-SSIA

Document Review Date: 02 April 2020