School Certification Season Is Just Around the Corner

Spring is upon us and for most students another school year will soon be coming to a close. Child annuitants between the ages of 18 and 22, attending school on a full-time basis, will soon start receiving their annual school certification packets.

Whether they are attending high school or another full-time course of study, Survivor Benefit Plan child annuitants, between age 18 and 22 must annually certify they were enrolled in either high school or a full-time course of education to remain entitled to an annuity. In addition to certifying current/past enrollment, they will also need to declare their intent for future attendance.

The annual school certification packets will contain a cover letter of instruction, DD Form 2788 School Certification and a Child Annuitant Past Attendance self-certification letter.

The DD Form 2788 School Certification is used to provide the child annuitant’s future intent to attend school on a full-time basis for the next school year. 

The Child Annuitant Past Attendance self-certification letter allows the child annuitant to self-certify that they attended school as they previously stated they would. The self-certification letter will be pre-populated with the prior school year’s information and the child annuitant can simply sign and date the self-certification letter and return to DFAS via the askDFAS online upload tool. 

School Certification Form Wizard

Child annuitants are encouraged to use the DD Form 2788 Form Wizard. Doing so will make completing the form a snap by ‘taking the form out of the form’ and make it easy for child annuitants to fill it in correctly. The Form Wizard will ask a series of questions and fill in the answers in the appropriate areas of the form.

Compatible PDF software, such as the free Adobe Acrobat DC software, available at, will be necessary. We do not recommend saving the Form Wizard to a shared computer, because it contains personal identifiable information.

The DD Form 2788 Form Wizard can be found on our school certifications webpage at:

Once all the questions have been answered, the child annuitant can even choose to electronically sign the form and submit it online using our askDFAS online upload tool! Or click a button to generate a ready-to-print-and-sign PDF with their answers.

The DD Form 2788 Form Wizard can be downloaded to a Windows or MAC computer. 

Submitting the Form and Letter Online

Submission of the child annuitant’s school certification can be done using an online upload tool through askDFAS, available on the website, which is also accessible on a mobile browser. 

The askDFAS online upload tool can be found at:

To use the online upload tool to submit a school certification form, the child annuitant will just need to fill in the required information in the online screen, and then upload a PDF of their completed and signed form and signed Child Annuitant Past Attendance self-certification letter.

When submitting forms or any other supporting documentation, please ensure that the retiree’s SSN is included on all the documents submitted.

In conjunction with using the askDFAS online upload tool, DFAS also provides a digital status notification for the submission of DD Form 2788 School Certification. What is a digital status notification? It is a three-step process that will update the child annuitant when their DD Form 2788 is received, when it is assigned, and whether it was able to be completed or not. 

The notification will be sent via the email address provided during the askDFAS submission. It will help to alleviate any doubt or concern as to whether the form was received and completed or not.

With the DD 2788 School Certification and the Child Annuitant Past Attendance self-certification letter completed, the child annuitant is set for the next upcoming school year.

Changes to School Attendance or Marital Status

If, at any time, the child annuitant’s school attendance or marital status changes, the child annuitant needs to contact DFAS immediately so they do not incur a debt.

Child Annuitants Approaching Age 18

Child annuitants approaching the age of 18, will receive a cover letter of instruction and a DD Form 2788 to complete, prior to their 18th birthday, so that DFAS can determine their continued eligibility to receive an annuity as a child annuitant between the ages of 18-22. Please see the article: “What You Need To Know For Child Annuitants Approaching Age 18.”


Page Updated Apr 29 2023