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There is an old quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And while this can be true of many things—like our health—it’s also true about your retired pay account! You should make a plan to regularly review and update your retired pay account.
Keeping your account current will ensure that DFAS can get in touch with you if there is information you need to know about your retired pay and help make sure that outdated information doesn’t cause difficulties for you or your loved ones down the road.
Use this handy checklist to do a retired pay checkup at least once a year. A good time to do it is just after you finish your tax preparation, since you’ll have the documents handy. Or, you can do it at any time that is convenient for you by using myPay.
1. Is your mailing address current?
You might be surprised to learn DFAS gets a lot of returned mail. If you moved and haven’t told us, we won’t know how to reach you. Let's keep the lines of communication open! You can easily log in to your myPay account and check “Correspondence Address” under “Pay Changes” on the side menu as part of the annual account checkup: https://mypay.dfas.mil
Or, check your mailing address on your Retiree Account Statement to ensure that it is up-to-date.
2. Is your email address in myPay current?
Make sure you have an email address in myPay and that it is current. Email is the easiest and fastest way to communicate. If we have an email address, you will hear news faster. Plus, now you can get email status notifications when you submit certain requests for your account if you have a valid email address in myPay.
It only takes a minute to check your email address in myPay. At the top of the myPay account menu, select “Personal Settings” and then in the side menu on the left, select “Email Address” to view the email address(es) on file with DFAS. Make sure you indicate the primary email address you want us to use, and check the box to indicate if the address is still valid. Delete any old email addresses you no longer use.
If you have a valid email address in myPay, you can receive notification about the DFAS Retiree Newsletter and about your Branch of Service’s retiree newsletter, as well as information about your pay account.
3. Are your allotments correct?
Review your allotments at least once a year. Look under “Pay Changes” for “Allotments” in the menu on the left side of the myPay account. Check each allotment and the allotment amounts. Make sure each allotment is current and the amount is correct.
You might also consider moving allotments for bill payments to your online bank account where you would have more control and flexibility in the timing and changes to your payments. If you do not monitor your allotment amounts and your pay changes for any reason, it is possible that your pay could be suspended if your allotments exceed your net retired pay—so please monitor these closely!
Please keep in mind that some allotments cannot be changed using myPay. These include allotments that are paid via paper check, those for your federal benefits, such as FEDVIP, TRICARE and NSGLI, and those that are not voluntary allotments.
If you have a question about allotments for your federal benefits, please contact that organization directly. DFAS cannot answer questions about or make changes to your federal benefit allotments. If you have a question about an allotment that cannot be changed in myPay, please contact our Customer Care Center.
4. Is your income tax withholding correct?
If your income changes, you move to another state, or there are changes in the tax laws, you should look at the federal or state income tax withholding information in your account.
You can verify and update your tax withholding information yourself in myPay. Click on “Federal Withholding” or “State Withholding” under “Pay Changes” in the menu on the left to see if your withholding meets your current need. You may also mail or fax us a new IRS Form W-4 to request a change to your federal withholding.
DFAS is unable to provide tax advice. If you have tax or withholding questions, we recommend you consult a tax professional or the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov. You can also use the IRS estimator at: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/tax-withholding-estimator
5. Have you had any major life changes?
If you get married, lose a spouse, or have a child, that change can affect your account. Changes may need to be made to your Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) information or your Arrears of Pay beneficiary.
To make changes to your Survivor Benefit Plan coverage, please send DFAS a copy of the official documentation (marriage license, divorce decree, death certificate or birth certificate), along with the request to update your account.
Retirees should always notify DFAS as soon as possible about a major life change.
6. Is your Arrears of Pay beneficiary correct?
Retirees should choose a beneficiary for any arrears of retired pay that may be due when they pass away. Make sure the designation is current and confirm that the beneficiary’s address is up to date.
You can check this information by clicking on the “Beneficiary for Arrears” link under “Pay Changes” in the menu on the left side of your account in myPay. Beneficiary designation changes can be made through myPay, as well as updating the beneficiary’s address information.
DFAS also now has a Form Wizard for the DD Form 2894 (Designation of Beneficiary Information) to help take the “form” out of the form. You can use the Form Wizard to provide updated beneficiary information—and even conveniently submit your document using askDFAS. You can find more information here: https://www.dfas.mil/askdfas. On that page, click on Retirees and Annuitants.
7. Are your Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) coverage and beneficiary correct?
Your Retiree Account Statement (RAS), available in myPay, has a lot of information on it about pay, deductions, taxes and SBP. The SBP section has five lines for members who participate in SBP. The most important information for you to check: type of coverage, and date of birth of your spouse beneficiary (if applicable).
If you divorced since retiring, carefully check your Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) participation status. Under the law, SBP coverage for a spouse ends with a divorce. Coverage for a former spouse does not continue after the divorce unless certain actions are taken.
To continue SBP coverage for a former spouse, either (a) the retiree must voluntarily request coverage be continued for the former spouse, or, (b) the former spouse must request the coverage (but she/he may do so only if a court order requires the coverage). Certain time limits and other conditions apply.
If those actions were not taken, the coverage for the former spouse has ended. This could have important consequences for your survivors.
To check your SBP coverage status, review your Retiree Account Statement (RAS) carefully. Make sure that the “SBP Coverage Type” properly reflects “former spouse” or “spouse” (as applicable to your individual circumstances).
Please see our special webpage “How to Identify the Status of Spouse/Former Spouse SBP Coverage on your Retiree Account Statement” for more details: https://www.dfas.mil/sbpspouseformerspouse
Note: If you would like more information about the SBP Open Season that runs from December 23, 2022 to January 1, 2024, please visit our special focus webpage for information on eligibility to enroll or discontinue coverage: https://www.dfas.mil/sbpopenseason23
Make a plan to review your pay account information regularly
Pick a date to review your retired pay account information. It doesn’t matter if it’s your retirement anniversary date, birthday, first of the year, or tax time. Set a yearly reminder to look over information to make sure your account is up to date.