SBP for Same-sex Spouses

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Survivor Benefit Plan Opportunity Open for Military Retirees with Same-sex Spouses

Military retirees who were married to a same-sex spouse on or before June 26, 2013, may now have spouse coverage in the Survivor Benefit Plan. 
 
Depending on the retiree’s circumstances enrollment for their spouse may be automatic or the retiree may need to elect spouse coverage. Either way, retirees must take action by June 25, 2014. 
 
The retiree should visit www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary/provide/sbp.html as soon as possible for more information to learn what steps must be taken by June 25, 2014 to secure or decline benefits. 
 
Any retiree who entered into a same-sex marriage after June 26, 2013, must express any SBP election changes they desire to be done to their account no later than their first anniversary of the marriage.
 
Like many other entitlements paid to married couples, SBP eligibility was extended to same-sex couples following the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act. The court ruled a portion of the act was unconstitutional, and now federal recognition of same-sex marriages is permitted.  
 
In order to qualify for SBP, the marriage must have taken place in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages. The DOD policy is outlined in a memo signed Sept. 5, 2013, by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management. 
 
All retirees in a same-sex marriage not currently providing spouse coverage can find more information on SBP is available at www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary/provide/sbp.html.
Updated December 12, 2013