The Survivor Benefit Plan Open Season Ends January 1, 2024

 

The SBP Open Season allows for retirees receiving retired pay, eligible members, or former members awaiting retired pay who were NOT enrolled in SBP or RCSBP (Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan) as of December 22, 2022 to enroll. For a member who enrolls during the SBP Open Season, the law generally requires that the member will be responsible to pay retroactive SBP premium costs that would have been paid if the member had enrolled at retirement (or enrolled at another earlier date, depending on the member’s circumstances).

The SBP Open Season also allows eligible members and former members who were enrolled in SBP or RCSBP (Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan) as of December 22, 2022 to permanently discontinue their SBP coverage. The law generally requires the covered beneficiaries to concur in writing with the election to discontinue. Previously paid premiums will not be refunded.

The deadline to enroll or discontinue during the SBP Open Season is January 1, 2024.

There are special forms to enroll or discontinue in accordance with the NDAA 2023 SBP Open Season law and processes.

The forms, deadlines, information, and FAQs are available on our special focus webpage: https://www.dfas.mil/sbpopenseason23

Please note that the information in this article is for retirees receiving pay. Gray Area Retirees, please see the Gray Area Spotlight article in this issue or contact your Branch of Service for details on how to enroll or discontinue RCSBP/SBP coverage during the SBP Open Season.

Brief Overview of the Enrollment Process

Upon enrollment you will be legally responsible and obligated to pay a “buy-in premium.” The buy-in premium is comprised of (a) amounts you would have been required to pay you had enrolled in SBP at an earlier opportunity plus (b) additional open season costs.

You will also be responsible to pay monthly premiums beginning with the effective date of the election in the same manner that monthly premiums are collected for all SBP participants, until you reach “paid-up” status.

To protect a retiree from making a legal commitment to payment of an undetermined amount for the buy-in premium (which may be thousands of dollars) we set up a four-step process that includes a request for an estimate prior to officially enrolling and making that legal commitment. 

However, a retiree can enroll without an estimate by submitting an official Enrollment Form, including your choice for how to pay the buy-in premium. Keep in mind that unless we receive a written request to cancel your enrollment within 30 days of the date of your signature on the enrollment form, you will be legally obligated to pay the buy-in premium and monthly premiums.  
 
STEP ONE: Submit the Letter of Intent (LOI) to Enroll, so we can send you an estimate of your monthly premiums and most importantly, an estimate of your one-time buy-in premium.

Retirees who want an individual estimate prior to officially enrolling should submit their Letter of Intent (LOI) to no later than November 1, 2023. If we do not receive the LOI by November 1, we may not be able to provide an individual estimate in time for you to enroll by the deadline. We strongly recommend you upload your LOI via our askDFAS online upload tool.

STEP TWO: We will mail you an estimate, based on the information in your Letter of Intent (LOI).

STEP THREE: After consideration of the costs, if you want to officially enroll, submit the Enrollment Form, including your choice for how to pay the buy-in premium.

STEP FOUR: We will mail you a confirmation of your enrollment, with your final costs, and start deductions or provide instructions on how to submit payment. Your enrollment will be effective the first day of the first calendar month following our receipt of your valid enrollment form.

You are allowed 30 days from the date you sign the enrollment form to cancel your enrollment. Cancellation must be in writing and must be received within those 30 days.

See Example SBP Open Season Buy-In Premiums on Webpage

By early October, we will have a number of examples of Open Season Buy-In Premiums posted on the webpage below. The examples will help you gauge the size of what your Buy-In Premium could be, if you haven’t already requested an estimate.  

For more details on the enrollment process, please see our special focus webpage: https://www.dfas.mil/sbpopenseason23

Brief Overview of the Discontinuance Process

During the SBP Open Season, retirees are allowed to stop (discontinue) their SBP coverage. To discontinue SBP coverage, complete and submit an “SBP Open Season 2023 Discontinuance Form.” The form is available to download from our special focus webpage: https://www.dfas.mil/sbpopenseason23

The discontinuance will be effective the first day of the first calendar month following our receipt of your valid discontinuance form.

Please note: To be valid, the form must be properly signed and dated by all parties, including the current spouse, and any currently-covered former spouse, child aged 18-22 or natural interest person (NIP). In addition, the covered party’s signature must either be notarized or witnessed by an SBP counselor.

No refunds of SBP premiums for the period of coverage are allowed. In addition, retirees remain responsible for any debt accrued due to unpaid premiums during the time in which the retiree had SBP or RCSBP coverage. Also, there is no provision to cancel or change your discontinuance once we receive a valid discontinuance form.

Before submitting your request for discontinuance, please review the SBP advantages and disadvantages information on the first page of the Discontinuance form. SBP Open Seasons rarely occur. Consider the impact your decision will have on your loved ones moving forward. Because your beneficiaries must also concur with the decision to discontinue, you may want to review this information with them.

For more details on the discontinuance process, please see our special focus webpage: https://www.dfas.mil/sbpopenseason23

 

Page Updated Sept 27 2023