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Active Duty/Line of Duty Survivors Spotlight

The Survivor Benefit Plan 2023 Active Duty/Line of Duty Optional Annuity for Dependent Children Elimination/Annuity Reversion to Surviving Spouses


This year brought big changes for surviving spouses and children of members who died on active duty or inactive duty, in the line of duty, and requested the Optional Annuity for Dependent Children. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 repealed the authority for the Optional Annuity for Dependent Children as of January 1, 2023.

This means for the surviving spouse of an Active Duty/Line of Duty member who requested to have the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity paid directly to an eligible dependent child or children, the annuity must revert to the surviving spouse in 2023 (if she or he submits documentation and is eligible).

Please check our special focus webpage for details regarding the changes: https://www.dfas.mil/sbp2023childoptrev

Surviving Spouses
If you are the surviving spouse of an Active Duty/Line of Duty member who requested to have the SBP annuity paid directly to an eligible dependent child or children and you have NOT submitted a Spouse Eligibility Packet, we need your information as soon as possible. Please download, fill out and submit the eligibility packet from our special focus webpage as soon as possible: https://www.dfas.mil/sbp2023childoptrev

Surviving Children
If you are the surviving child or the parent or guardian of a surviving child of an Active Duty/Line of Duty member whose surviving spouse requested to have the SBP annuity paid directly to the child or children at the time of the member’s passing, please see our special focus webpage for more information: https://www.dfas.mil/sbp2023childoptrev


Special Note About Eligibility Verifications for Newly Eligible Surviving Spouses

Spouse SBP annuitants under the age of 55 are required to verify each year they are not married, using the Certificate of Eligibility (COE). We mail a COE approximately 60 days prior to an annuitant’s birthday. Please return the completed, signed COE by the first day of the month of your birthday. 
We realize that you just recently began receiving pay, so it may seem odd to need to provide eligibility verification so soon after the start of your SBP benefit payments. However, we do need a new completed, signed COE from you by the first day of the month of your birthday each year, so please promptly complete and sign your COE and return it to us when we send a request.
School Certification Letters for Child Annuitants No Longer Receiving the Optional Child Annuity

We are aware that some children who are no longer getting SBP payments because of the elimination of the Optional Annuity for Dependent Children received standard School Certification letters in the mail asking them to provide their certification to continue receiving an annuity. We apologize for the confusion.
We will be mailing a revised letter with instructions more appropriate for the children who received SBP payments in 2022 and were required to provide documentation they were in school full-time to be eligible to receive the annuity payments.

From Our Partners: All About the Online Survivor Benefits Reports (OSBRs)


The following links connect to information about the online survivor benefits reports (OSBR s) for surviving spouses, eligible adult children and guardians of surviving children. You will learn how to determine the financial benefits you should be receiving from all federal resources, view projected future benefits and include any recent benefit law changes. You will also learn who to contact for help to access your reports, including for the initial OSBR. The interactive OSBRs allows you to input “what if” changes to your — and your family members’ — education, employment, disability and marital status.


Keeping Your Contact Information Updated

Did you know you need to keep your contact information updated with DFAS, DEERS, and your loved one’s Branch of Service to ensure you receive important information and your benefits? To update your Branch of Service, please contact your service’s long-term case management program:

Changing Your Address with DFAS

There are several ways to change your address. The easiest and most convenient way to update your address is by logging into myPay and updating it there. If you don’t have a myPay account, you can also call our customer care center at 800-321-1080, or you can send us a letter by mail, fax or by uploading it as a PDF using our askDFAS online upload tool. Be sure to include your SSN and sign and date any written correspondence.

Page Updated Apr 29 2023