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Frequently Asked Questions
The Howard P. "Buck" McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15 NDAA), Public Law 113-291, amended Title 10, U.S. Code, Sections 1448, 1450, and 1455. This amendment gave military members and retirees the option to direct payment of a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) Annuity for a dependent child to a Special Needs Trust (SNT). A SNT is a legal instrument specifically designed for the benefit of a person with a disability. In some cases, this may preserve the beneficiary’s eligibility for other federal or state benefits.
To be eligible to elect the option to cover the SNT under SBP, the member or retiree must have previously elected Spouse and Child or Child Only coverage for a disabled child under the SBP. There must also be an established and certified SNT.
If the member is alive and if they have previously elected Spouse and Child or Child Only coverage under the SBP, they may make the designation to direct payment on the behalf of a beneficiary to a SNT at any time.
After the death of a member or retiree, if the member or retiree had elected Spouse and Child or Child Only coverage under the SBP, any surviving parent, grandparent or court appointed legal guardian may make the designation on the behalf of a beneficiary.
Submit certified Special Needs Trust paperwork to the following Defense Finance and Accounting Service address:
Defense Finance and Accounting Service
U.S. Military Retired Pay
8899 E 56th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46249-1200
It is important that you examine your child's needs and how any additional income may impact them with and without a trust. There are attorneys who specialize in this area and are qualified in assisting you to explore your options.
Your installation's Exceptional Family Member Program (Military and Family Support Office) and the Legal Assistance Office can provide advice and referrals to local attorneys who specialize in special-needs laws.
You can also visit https://www.militaryonesource.mil/family-and-relationships/special-needs, an official Department of Defense website, or speak to a special needs consultant at Military OneSource at 800-342-9647.
If you already have a SNT established for your dependent child and are interested in redirecting their future SBP annuity claim to the SNT, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service can help. Requirements for directing payment of SBP annuity to the SNT can be found above.
If you have any further questions in regard to establishing payment to a Special Needs Trust, please contact us through one of our customer service avenues.
Page last updated February 14, 2023