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Start a Survivor Benefit Plan Annuity

If you are the designated beneficiary of a deceased military service member's Survivor Benefit Plan, there are several documents we need to begin your SBP annuity account:

Use the DD 2656-7 Form Wizard to fill in your form

The DD 2656-7 Form Wizard will help you fill out the DD 2656-7 - Verification for Survivor Annuity form. The form wizard will ask you a series of questions and fill in your answers in the appropriate areas of the form. When you have finished answering the questions, you can click a button to generate a ready-to-print PDF with your answers.

Please remember you will need to sign and date this form, and then submit it to DFAS, along with the appropriate supporting documentation.

How to use the Form Wizard
You can download the entire DD 2656-7 Form Wizard (right click and choose "Save link as...") to your Windows or MAC computer. You will need compatible PDF software, such as the free Adobe Acrobat DC software, available at adobe.com. We do not recommend saving the Form Wizard to a shared computer, because it contains personally-identifiable information. When using Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari to access an Adobe form wizard, the user may initially receive a pop-up attached message. The user must download the pdf (by clicking the download icon in the upper right-hand corner of the page), then double-click on downloaded file. It is suggested to use the form wizard on a personal device. Using the form wizard on a DFAS computer may not have the same functionality a personal device.
Alternatively, you can complete and send the following documents:
  • Verification for Survivors Annuity
  • Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity (IRS W-4P) - To have federal taxes withheld from the annuity 
  • Fast Start Direct Deposit Form (FMS 2231) - To have payments directly deposited to your bank account, OR Direct Deposit Enrollment Form (SF 1199A), OR International Direct Deposit Enrollment Form (SF 1199-I)

If any of the following circumstances apply to you, please also send the relevant document(s):

  • If you have not already sent to DFAS: a copy of the retiree’s death certificate showing cause of death or a service member’s DD 1300 Report of Casualty
  • Citizenship Affidavit - Only needed if the claimant lives outside of the United States and is anyone other than the retiree’s child
  • IRS Form W8-BEN - Only needed if the claimant is a nonresident alien and their country of citizenship has a tax treaty with the United States 
  • DD Form 2790 (Custodianship Certificate of Minor Child - available on our Forms webpage) - Only needed if a claimant is a minor (under age 18). Click this link for a helpful checklist to complete this formClick this link for a helpful how-to video to complete this form.
  • DD 2788 (Child Annuitant’s School Certification) - Only needed if the claimant is over age 18 but under age 22 and attends school full-time 
  • Legal Representative Documentation - Only needed if someone signs on behalf of the claimant; a copy of supporting documentation such as a Power of Attorney, Guardianship, or Representative Payee is required. 

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Please note regarding the DD Form 2656-7: 
If the member’s death occurred on or after January 1, 2023, Section 6 of the DD Form 2656-7 does not pertain to your application. You can leave Section 6 blank. 
If the member’s death occurred prior to January 1, 2023, Section 6 of the DD Form 2656-7 may or may not pertain to your application, depending on your individual circumstances. We recommend you complete Section 6 so we have the information if needed. 

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Submitting the DD Form 2656-7 and supporting documentation

Send the completed DD Form 2656-7 to start your SBP annuity with supporting documentation to:

A. Upload a PDF of your completed/signed form and supporting documents via the askDFAS online upload tool on DFAS.mil

B. OR, mail to: :

DFAS - U.S. Military Annuitant Pay
8899 E 56th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46249-1300

C. OR, Fax to:  800-982-8459

If you have additional questions about starting your SBP annuity, please contact your Branch of Service Retiree Service Organization or call the DFAS Customer Care Center at 800-321-1080.


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Page Updated May 21, 2023