How Child SBP Payments are Divided for Families With More Than One Child


When Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) benefits are paid to children, the benefit must be divided equally and paid to each eligible child. If there are two children, each eligible child will get half. If there are three eligible children, each will get a third, and so on.

The benefit is paid to a parent or guardian on behalf of the child when the child is a minor. When the child reaches the age of 18, the benefit can be paid directly to them as long as the child maintains their eligibility. Please see the article in this issue: “What You Need To Know For Child Annuitants Approaching Age 18.”

This is where it can get confusing. Child SBP can be paid to a child between the ages of 18 and 22 as long as they remain unmarried, and are attending school full-time. If a child annuitant gets married or is not attending school full-time, they become ineligible to receive SBP.

When one child annuitant becomes ineligible, that child’s portion can get divided equally between the remaining eligible children, but ONLY if we receive documentation of the child’s ineligibility. This is called reapportionment.

For example, if a child annuitant does not provide their school certification after age 18, that child’s pay account is suspended but the annuity is not yet reapportioned. If the child does not provide documentation that they are not attending school full-time, their portion of the SBP benefit remains suspended and cannot be divided until documentation is provided.

If a child annuitant does not provide their annual eligibility verification or notifies DFAS they married, but does not provide documentation, again, their portion of the SBP benefit remains suspended and cannot be divided until documentation is provided.

As you can see, it is important for all SBP child annuitants to keep DFAS informed of changes that impact eligibility for the annuity. This is done by providing DFAS timely documentation of life events like marriage, along with status as student from ages 18-22.
 

Page Updated Apr 29 2023