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What SBP Annuitants Need to Know - How to Verify Eligibility to Keep Payments Coming


The Survivor Benefit Plan provides an ongoing monthly annuity payment to military spouses or children when a military member dies while on active duty, on inactive duty or after retirement (if the retiree chooses to purchase coverage).
 
The laws that govern Survivor Benefit Plan payments set out specific eligibility requirements for annuitants (the military spouses or children) to continue to receive payments.
 
SBP annuitants need to verify their continued eligibility regularly to receive SBP annuity payments.
 
We are working to simplify the process of verifying continuing eligibility for Survivor Benefit Plan annuitants. The newest change reduces the number of annuitants who need to submit a Report of Existence (ROE). Now, the only annuitants who need to submit an ROE are those who receive a paper check to a foreign address. Previously, the legal representatives for all incapacitated annuitants were required to submit an ROE twice each year. 
 
We have a detailed overview of the eligibility verification requirements for annuitants on the “Manage Your SBP Annuity” webpage. You can also download the new SBP Annuitant Eligibility Verification Requirements Fact Sheet from the webpage:  
https://www.dfas.mil/managesbp
 

Types of Eligibility Certification

 
There are several types of verification.
 
  Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
 
The Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is required annually for all annuitants between the ages of 14 and 55 to verify they have not married.
 
We mail a COE approximately 60 days prior to the annuitant’s birthday. The completed, signed COE should be returned by the first day of the month of the annuitant’s birthday. 
 
  Report of Existence (ROE)
 
Annuitants of any age who receive a paper check to a foreign address are required to verify twice each year that they are not deceased, using the Report of Existence (ROE).

These are the only annuitants who now must submit the ROE. Previously, the legal representatives for all incapacitated annuitants were required to submit an ROE twice each year. 

For those annuitants who must submit an annual COE, DFAS accepts the COE in place of one of the ROEs.
 
The ROE is mailed six months after the annuitant’s birthday. The completed, signed ROE should be returned by the first day of the ninth month after the annuitant’s birthday. 

For those annuitants who are required to submit a second ROE, the ROE is mailed approximately 60 days prior to their birthday. The completed, signed ROE should be returned by the first day of the month of the annuitant’s birthday. 

  School Certifications

Student child annuitants ages 18-22 and not documented as incapacitated are required to verify that they are attending school full-time using the School Certification package. 

When a child annuitant is turning 18, they need to verify they are attending school full-time. The DD 2788 School Certification form is mailed approximately 60 days prior to their 18th birthday. The completed School Certification form should be returned by the first day of the month of the 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. The School Certification is good for the full upcoming school year unless the student graduates or drops below full-time attendance prior to the end of the school year.

Student child annuitants 18 through 22 and in college full-time need to verify annually that they are attending school full-time. The School Certification package is mailed approximately 60 days prior to end of their school year. The completed, signed School Certification package should be returned by the first day of the month the student’s attendance for the school year ends (the date the student previously indicated as the end date of the last semester they planned to attend for the school year). The School Certification is good for the full upcoming school year unless the student graduates or drops below full-time attendance prior to the end of the school year.
 

Summary of Requirements

 
The specific requirements for verification depend on the SBP annuitant’s relationship to the military service member.
 
Below is a summary of the eligibility verification requirements for Survivor Benefit Plan annuitants. They are separated into sections based on the annuitant's relationship to the military service member. 
Click on a title to jump to that section or scroll down to see all of the summaries.


Spouse and Former Spouse SBP Annuitants 
(Not documented as incapacitated) 

Eligibility Verification Requirements - Summary

  • Spouse and former spouse annuitants under the age of 55 = COE annually

  • Spouse and former spouse annuitants who receive a paper check to a foreign address = ROE twice each year


Spouse and Former Spouse SBP Annuitants Documented as Incapacitated

Eligibility Verification Requirements – Summary

  • Spouse and former spouse annuitants documented as incapacitated under the age of 55 = COE annually

  • Spouse and former spouse annuitants documented as incapacitated who receive a paper check to a foreign address = ROE twice each year
     

Child SBP Annuitants Under 18
(Not documented as incapacitated)

Eligibility Verification Requirements – Summary

  • Child SBP Annuitants Under 18 and over 14 = COE annually

  • Child SBP Annuitants Under 18 receiving a paper check to a foreign address = ROE twice each year


Student Child SBP Annuitants 18-22
(Not documented as incapacitated)

Eligibility Verification Requirements – Summary

  • Student Child Annuitant age 18-22 do not need to submit a COE IF they submit a DD 2788 School Certification form and complete Box 8. DFAS accepts the School Certification in place of the annual Certificate of Eligibility (COE). 

  • Student Child SBP Annuitants turning 18 = School Certification before 18th birthday

  • Student Child SBP Annuitants 18-22 = School Certification annually

  • Student Child SBP Annuitants 18-22 receiving a paper check to a foreign address = ROE twice each year


Child Annuitants Documented as Incapacitated

Eligibility Verification Requirements – Summary

  • Child Annuitants Documented as Incapacitated over 14 = COE annually

  • Child Annuitants Documented as Incapacitated receiving a paper check to a foreign address = ROE twice each year

 
Options for Submitting Your Verification

 
COEs

  • Spouse SBP annuitants can submit a COE through their myPay account.

  • Legal representatives for Child SBP Annuitants under 18, Child Annuitants documented as incapacitated and Spouse SBP Annuitants documented as incapacitated can use a myPay account created for the annuitant to submit a COE IF the legal representative’s documentation is already on file in the annuitant’s SBP payment account.

  • Or mail or fax to the address/fax number below.

 
ROEs

  • Spouse SBP annuitants can submit an ROE through their myPay account.

  • Legal representatives for Child SBP Annuitants under 18, Child Annuitants documented as incapacitated and Spouse SBP Annuitants documented as incapacitated can use a myPay account created for the annuitant to submit an ROE IF the legal representative’s documentation is already on file in the annuitant’s SBP payment account.

  • Student Child Annuitants age 18-22 can submit an ROE through their myPay account.

  • Or mail or fax to the address/fax number below.

 
School Certifications

  • 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

 
If you do not receive a COE, ROE or School Certification request in the mail, you still need to submit the document. If we don’t receive the completed COE, ROE or School Certification when due, we will suspend payment until we receive the properly completed document.
 
Please ensure that your mailing address is always up-to-date with DFAS so you can receive important communications. You can also download the COE, ROE, DD 2788 or direct deposit forms from our Forms webpage: https://www.dfas.mil/raforms

The full details on verification requirements are outlined on our Manage Your SBP Annuity webpage. We also have a downloadable fact sheet on the webpage: https://www.dfas.mil/managesbp
 
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
 

Page updated June 9, 2021