What Child Annuitants Need to Know About School Certifications

 

What Child Annuitants Need to Know About School Certifications


A child's eligibility to continue receiving SBP payments ends when the child turns 18 unless proven to be in school or incapacitated/incapable of self-support.

SBP child annuitants between 18 and 22 years old (and not documented as incapacitated) must regularly certify their status as an unmarried, full-time student using the School Certification package to continue to receive annuity payments.

SBP child annuitants who are full-time students are allowed a break between school semesters if the break is not more than 150 days.

In 2020, we made sweeping changes to simplify the School Certification process, including making the certification annual instead of each semester, eliminating the school official signature or school documentation, and making the school certification form shorter and simpler. The changes significantly reduce the paperwork burden and make the process easier and more convenient for full-time student child annuitants.
 

How the New School Certification Process Works


  College Students Between 18 and 22

If you are a college student between 18 and 22 years old, once each year you will fill out and send a new DD 2788 form (form dated May 2020) to notify us of your future full-time school plans.

You will also sign and return a short previous attendance certification letter to confirm your past full-time school attendance. The Child Annuitant’s Certification for Previous Attendance Letter you receive in the mail will be pre-filled with the information you provided previously on your DD 2788 form, so you can simply confirm and sign.

About 60 days prior to the ending date of the school year, we will mail you a School Certification package containing a cover letter, a blank DD 2788 and a pre-filled Child Annuitant’s Certification for Previous Attendance Letter.

  High School Students Over 18

If you are a high school student over 18, once each year you will fill out and send a new DD 2788 form (form dated May 2020) to notify us of your future full-time school plans.

You will also sign and return a short Child Annuitant’s Certification for Previous Attendance Letter to confirm your past full-time school attendance.

At the end of your last year of high school, you will fill out another new DD 2788 form (form dated May 2020) to notify us of your future full-time school plans. You will also sign and return a Child Annuitant’s Certification for Previous Attendance Letter to confirm your past full-time school attendance.

About 60 days prior to the ending date of the school year, we will mail you a School Certification package containing a cover letter, a blank DD 2788 and a pre-filled Child Annuitant’s Certification for Previous Attendance Letter.

If you are over age 18 and do not plan to attend college full-time, your annuity eligibility ends on the date of high school graduation.

  Child SBP Annuitants Turning 18

If you are a high school or college student turning 18, we will mail you a school certification form and direct deposit form approximately 60 days prior to your 18th birthday. The forms must be filled out and signed by a parent or guardian and returned to DFAS prior to the first day of the month of the child annuitant’s 18th birthday.

A direct deposit form is included with the School Certification form because when the child annuitant turns 18, we need the annuitant to provide the preferred direct deposit account. If we do not receive the completed direct deposit form, payment will be converted to a paper check sent via mail.

  Your DD2788 is Now Your Annual COE

For high school and college students turning 18 and over 18, we now use your annual DD 2788 School Certification Form as your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) instead of sending you a separate COE to submit each year.
 

We Have Helpful, Convenient Tools for the DD 2788 Form


Use the new School Certification DD 2788 Form Wizard to simplify filling out the form. The Form Wizard will ask you a series of questions and fill in your answers in the appropriate areas of the form. When you have finished answering the questions, you can even choose to electronically sign your form and submit it online using our online upload tool! Or click a button to generate a ready-to-print-and-sign PDF with your answers.

Use the new How-To Checklist with specific instructions for filling out the new DD 2788 form according to your situation.

Get them on the School Certifications webpage: https://www.dfas.mil/schoolcerts
 

Options for Submitting Your School Certification Documents


Student SBP annuitants can use our convenient online upload tool on DFAS.mil to submit a PDF of their completed/signed DD 2788 form (or Form Wizard generated form), direct deposit form, and any supporting documents (this link is case-sensitive): https://go.usa.gov/xymaH
 
Or mail or fax to the address/fax number below.
 
  Mail or Fax to DFAS
 
Defense Finance and Accounting Service
U.S. Military Annuitant Pay
8899 E 56th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46249-1300
 
Annuity fax: 800-982-8459
 

Additional Information

 
We have a special webpage for School Certifications, with a School Certification Form Wizard, a How-To-Checklist and detailed information: https://www.dfas.mil/schoolcerts
 
If you do not receive a School Certification request in the mail, you still need to submit the document. We are aware that some student SBP annuitants did not receive their School Certification documents in the mail. We are extending the due dates for those students and mailing a special letter to them with additional information. We sincerely apologize for the missing mailing with the School Certification documents and the difficulty this may have caused. Please see our School Certifications webpage for more information: https://www.dfas.mil/schoolcerts
 
You don’t need to wait to receive the mailing to fill out and submit your documents:
 
   1-You can download, fill out and submit the DD 2788 Child Annuitant’s School Certification form or use the DD 2788 Form Wizard to help you fill out the DD 2788 form easily and correctly.
 
   2-Use our How-To-Checklist to fill out your DD 2788 form according to your individual situation.
 
   3-If you don’t have the pre-filled Child Annuitant’s Certification for Previous Attendance Letter, submit a written and signed statement based on the example on the webpage.
 
Please ensure that your mailing address is always up-to-date with DFAS so you can receive important communications. You can also download the DD 2788 or direct deposit forms from our Forms webpage: https://www.dfas.mil/raforms
 
Get our helpful tools and more detailed information on the School Certifications webpage: https://www.dfas.mil/schoolcerts

 
Page updated June 9, 2021