Checking Your SBP Coverage on Your Retiree Account Statement
If you have Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) coverage, it’s important to regularly check your Retiree Account Statement (RAS) to verify your account information is current. The following explanations will help you understand the SBP information on your RAS.
The first page of your RAS has a lot of information on it about your pay, deductions, taxes and SBP.
The SBP section has five lines on it for members who participate in SBP:
Type of Coverage
The first line is “The Type of Coverage” and can be the most confusing line, especially for retirees who have had more than one spouse. The options for this line are Spouse, Spouse and Child, Child Only, Former Spouse and NIP or Natural Interest Person.
Spouse coverage entitles your spouse to an SBP annuity at the time of your death.
If a retiree is married to one person at retirement, divorced, and the married another person, the current spouse at the time of death will received the SBP annuity, and not the spouse at retirement. This situation is not uncommon and can difficulties for those who are survived by the member.
If a retiree who has SBP on their account gets divorced and SBP is ordered to be continued after the divorce, the retiree or former spouse have one year from the date of divorce to switch the spouse coverage to former spouse coverage. If the RAS does not say “Former Spouse” in the Type of Coverage line and the retiree is divorced, they need to contact DFAS to correct their SBP.
Spouse and child coverage can also cause some confusion for some retirees. Spouse and child coverage will provide SBP first to the spouse as described above. If the spouse becomes ineligible to receive SBP, then the child or children will receive the SBP. The spouse and child(ren) cannot receive SBP at the same time.
Child Only coverage provides no coverage for the spouse. The SBP annuity will be divided equally between all eligible children.
Natural Interest Person or NIP coverage is available for retirees who do not have a spouse or children and want to cover someone else. This coverage type is rare and more expensive than the other options. In addition, the retiree can terminate NIP coverage at any time and for any reason.
After you clarify what type of coverage you have, the next line states the monthly premium.
Once you have made 360 payments and are more than 70 years old, you are paid up and no additional premiums are withheld. The last line of the SBP section will show how many premium payments that have been made toward paid-up status.
Annuity Base Amount
Line three shows the annuity base amount. This amount starts anywhere from $300.00 up to the retiree’s full gross pay at retirement and is increased by Cost of Living Adjustments throughout the member’s retirement. The annuity will be 55% of the base amount.
Date of Birth of Beneficiary
Line four shows the date of birth for the spouse or former spouse. If you have child coverage, this line will show the date of the youngest child at retirement. If you had subsequent children after retirement, this date will not change until the youngest child at retirement ages out of eligibility. This is another area that can be confusing.
The SBP section of your RAS can be confusing, but by understanding what each line means, and making sure you notify DFAS when your SBP coverage is not reflected correctly on your RAS, we can prevent heartache and difficulties for your loved ones after your death.
Page last updated on June 20, 2019