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Checking Your SBP Coverage for Your Current or Former Spouse 


Have you recently checked your Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) coverage? If you haven’t, it’s easy to do. In myPay, you can review a monthly Retiree Account Statement (RAS), which is available to all military retirees currently receiving retired pay. 

By reviewing the RAS, the statement shows your current SBP coverage and the type of coverage your current or former spouse is receiving. 

As a retiree, it is important to understand you need to contact DFAS for any life-changing events, such as marriage, divorce, or loss of a spouse. The changes can impact your premium payments; there is a one-year limit for notifying DFAS of any life-changing event.  

If you divorced since you retired from the military, review your SBP participation status. Federal law states SBP coverage ends for a spouse when a divorce occurs. In most cases, coverage does not continue until DFAS is notified and the required documentation is received.

There are two alternatives to allow continuing coverage for a former spouse: the military retiree must voluntarily request coverage to be continued or the former spouse must submit a timely deemed election to request coverage. If the former spouse submits a timely deemed election, coverage is subject to the court order.  Time limits apply for all scenarios, whether coverage is elected by the retiree or deemed by the former spouse.

To update your SBP coverage, please note DFAS needs a copy of the official documentation; a marriage license, divorce decree, death certificate, or birth certificate, along with SBP Election Change Form (DD2656-6) to update your account. 

Please note: updating your beneficiary for the SBP does NOT update your beneficiary listed for the Arrears of Pay. They are independent of each other and must be updated individually.

SBP for Current or Former Spouse

Have you divorced since retiring? If so, please take a moment and carefully check your 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 the “SBP Coverage Type” properly reflects “former spouse” or “spouse” (as applicable to your individual circumstances).

We have seen instances of spouse SBP premium deductions that were continued after a divorce but because required actions were not taken, the former spouse was not properly covered, preventing payment of an SBP annuity.

There is more information on our website on the SBP Changing or Stopping Coverage webpage: https://www.dfas.mil/RetiredMilitary/provide/sbp/change

Or, if you have questions about your SBP coverage, you may call our Customer Care Center: https://www.dfas.mil/RetiredMilitary/about/aboutus/customer-service


March 27, 2024