Survivor Benefit Plan

Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)

References: P.L. 92-425 NAVPERS 15891C

The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) is a voluntary program in which a military retiree may elect to receive a reduced amount of retired/retainer pay in order to provide an annuity to an eligible survivor or survivors. In making election decisions, servicemembers must recognize that if coverage is declared for a spouse or children at the time of retirement, this decision is irrevocable; coverage for that spouse and child(ren), or any subsequent spouse or children, cannot be elected at a later time. The reduction in pay is referred to as a "premium" and is not counted as taxable income.

A retiree may name a former spouse (and/or children) as beneficiary of the SBP. If the servicemember has remarried, .the service member's current spouse is notified when the election is made. Reinstatement of a former spouse as beneficiary must be made within one year of the divorce. A State court may order the assignment of the SBP to a former spouse.

A former spouse can receive the annuity under this plan as long as he or she lives, or until remarriage under age 55. Remarriage after age 55 will not affect entitlement to the annuity.

(NOTE from BJ 'n Cindy: This was designed by and for the US Naval Service, but the information should be similar for all services. The information while deemed reliable should not be the substitute for consultation with an attorney (either civilian or military), or any other federal or state agency which may be chartered with providing assistance.)

The material in this handbook is current as of September 1993. Prepared by LCDR D. L. KARR, JAGG, USN, Naval Legal Service Office, Puget Sound.