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Frequently Asked Questions
When you apply for retirement, you will be asked to complete a Data for Payment of Retired Personnel form. On that form, you will need to choose a type of beneficiary. The types you may choose from are described below.
If you have an eligible spouse and you choose anything less than full coverage, the spouse’s notarized signature must be obtained for the election to be considered valid.
With this option, all children are covered in equal shares. If you have children at the time of your election, and chose some coverage other than spouse and children, you will not be able to change that election later.
An eligible dependent child under the plan must be:
Children enrolled in higher education are eligible until they reach age 22 or leave school.
Incapacitated or disabled children are eligible. An incapacitated or disabled child is defined as a child who is incapable of self-support because of a physical or mental disability which existed before the 18th birthday or which was incurred before age 22 while child was pursuing a full-time course of study.
Adding eligible children to an SBP election will add to the cost. The additional cost depends on the age of the retiree, spouse and the youngest child.
1. Former Spouse Election at the Time of Your Retirement
a. If you have a former spouse when you first retire and become eligible to participate in the SBP, then you may elect former spouse coverage. NOTE: different rules apply for reservists, because of their opportunity to participate in Reserve Component SBP when they receive their retirement eligibility letter.
b. If you’re married when you become eligible to participate in the SBP and have been court-ordered to cover a former spouse, you can do so without your current spouse’s signature.
c. If you’re married at the time you become eligible to participate in the SBP, but you want to voluntarily cover your former spouse, DFAS will be required to notify your current spouse of that election.
d. You may elect coverage for your former spouse at the time of your retirement even if you divorced more than a year before your retirement and becoming eligible to participate in the SBP.
2. Former Spouse Coverage after retirement
If you’ve already retired and you want to elect former spouse coverage, or the court has ordered you to do so, you must make a former spouse election within one year of your divorce decree.
3. Your Former Spouse’s Right to Request SBP Coverage (aka “Deemed” Election Requests)
The cost for this option depends on the age of the retiree and the youngest child.
Although the annuity benefits of NIP coverage are the same (55 percent of covered pay), the cost (10 percent of your gross pay) is considerably higher than other elections.
Unlike other SBP elections, NIP coverage can be cancelled any time.
A retiree can only elect NIP coverage at retirement.
Page last updated February 14, 2023