School Cert Season Approaching – Steps to Take for Your Children, Including High School Grads 18 and Over

Child annuitants between the ages of 18-22, attending school on a full-time basis, may soon start receiving their annual school certification packets.  Survivor Benefit Plan child annuitants who are between age 18 and 22 must regularly certify they are enrolled in a full-time course of education to be entitled to an annuity.

The annual school certification packets will contain a cover letter of instruction, DD Form 2788 and a Child Annuitant Past Attendance self-certification letter. The DD Form 2788 will be used to provide the child annuitant’s future intent to attend school on a full-time basis for the next school year. A school official signature or school documentation is no longer needed. The Child Annuitant Past Attendance self-certification letter will allow the child annuitant to self-certify that they attended school as they previously provided they would. The self-certification letter will be pre-populated with the prior school year’s information and the child annuitant will simply sign and date the self-certification letter and return to DFAS. The child annuitant will then be set for the next upcoming school year. If at any time the child annuitant’s school attendance or marital status changes, the child annuitant needs to contact DFAS immediately so they do not incur a debt.

Child annuitants approaching the age of 18, will receive a cover letter of instruction and a DD Form 2788 to complete, prior to their 18th birthday, so that DFAS can determine their continued eligibility to receive an annuity as a child annuitant between the ages of 18-22.

DFAS also recently revised the COE process for child annuitants between the ages of 18-22, attending school on a full-time basis, to use the DD Form 2788 as proof of the child annuitant’s annual eligibility so they won’t receive or need to send us a separate form for that.

If students provide an email address in myPay, DFAS will send an email reminder when they have a school certification coming due. 

DFAS also recently introduced a PDF Form Wizard for the DD Form 2788. The Form Wizard ‘takes the form out of the form’ and makes it easy for a child annuitant to fill it in correctly. The Form Wizard will ask a series of questions and fill in the answers in the appropriate areas of the form. Once all the questions have been answered, the child annuitant can even choose to electronically sign the form and submit it online using our online upload tool! Or click a button to generate a ready-to-print-and-sign PDF with their answers. 

The DD Form 2788 Form Wizard can be downloaded to a Windows or MAC computer. Compatible PDF software, such as the free Adobe Acrobat DC software, available at, will be necessary. We do not recommend saving the Form Wizard to a shared computer, because it contains personally-identifiable information.

The DD Form 2788 Form Wizard can be found on our school certifications webpage at Also, located on the school certification webpage is a How-To Checklist along with some additional resources that can aid in the school certification process.

Submission of the child annuitant’s school certification can be done using an online upload tool through AskDFAS, available on the website, which is also accessible on a mobile browser.The online upload tool is at:

To use the online upload tool to submit a school certification form, the child annuitant will just need to fill in the required information in the online screen, and then upload a PDF of their completed and signed form and signed Child Annuitant Past Attendance self-certification letter.

In conjunction with using the AskDFAS online upload tool, DFAS is also excited to introduce one of our latest improvements, the digital status notification for the submission of DD Form 2788. What is a digital status notification? It will be a three-step process that will update the child annuitant when their DD Form 2788 is received, when it is assigned, and whether it was able to be completed or not. The notification will be sent via the email address provided during the AskDFAS submission. It will help to alleviate any doubt or concern as to whether the form was received and completed or not. See the status notification article in this issue for more information. 

Page updated March 17, 2021