Supreme Court Denies Veterans Disability Offset Compensation To Ex-Spouses

Written by Maurice Abarr on . Posted in Veterans Disability

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On 15th May 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Howell v. Howell that a state court cannot force veterans to offset the loss of a divorced spouse’s portion of a veteran’s retirement benefits when that veteran waives retirement pay in favor of disability pay. The issues have been hotly debated for years. The ruling overturned an Arizona Supreme Court decision and is now settled law. The case details are probably more relevant to those who specialize in divorce or dissolution law. So, you need not immerse yourself in the minutiae—rest assured we understand the decision and its implications for our Veterans Disability clients. If you are contending with similar circumstances with an ex-spouse, contact a domestic-law specialist. If that attorney happens to be unfamiliar with this Supreme Court decision, tell them to call us.

The Bottom Line: If you have waived your veterans retirement pay (or a portion of it) in order to receive service-related disability benefits, courts can’t order you to indemnify a former spouse for the lost amount in her/his portion of your now reduced veteran’s retirement pay.

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