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Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and Arrears of Pay Frequently Asked Questions

 

Check Out Our Survivor SBP Newsletter! 


Did you know DFAS has a Survivor SBP Newsletter? Check it out: lots of news and helpful info for survivors/SBP annuitants. Learn all about the elimination of the SBP-DIC offset, our new status notifications, changes to simplify annuitant eligibility verification requirements, and more! Get it here:  https://www.dfas.mil/survivornews

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New, Simpler Eligibility Verification Requirements for SBP Annuitants

As of August 2023, we reduced the requirements for SBP annuitants to one annual eligibility verification. Previously, some SBP annuitants needed to complete multiple forms each year. Now, SBP annuitants will only need to complete and submit one of the annual verifications each year. 

There is a new overview, a downloadable Quick Reference Guide, and a downloadable PDF fact sheet of the eligibility verification requirements for annuitants on our “Manage Your SBP Annuity” webpage. 

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Spouses (widows/widowers), eligible former spouses, or children of a deceased military member/retiree:
If you need to submit a DD Form 2656-7 to start an SBP annuity, please see the Start an SBP Annuity page for helpful tools and the online option for submitting the form and documents. 

Spouses (widows/widowers) or child(ren) of a deceased retiree: If you need to submit an SF 1174 for the retiree’s Arrears of Pay, please see the How to Claim Arrears of Pay Using the 1174 page for helpful tools and the online option for submitting the form and documents.

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General FAQs

 

1.  How do I update my mailing address?

Update your mailing address online:

  •   myPay - https://mypay.dfas.mil – Utilize this site to update your mailing address, as well as phone number, direct deposit information, or federal tax withholding information. Use the appropriate section in the Pay Changes section of your myPay account.

OR

  • Contact our Customer Care Center at 1-800-321-1080 and speak to a customer care representative. You will need to validate your identity. Once you pass validation, they will be happy to update your mailing address.


2.   I did not receive my 1099-R. How do I get a copy of my 1099-R?

Convenient online options include:

  •   myPay (https://mypay.dfas.mil)  – Copies of your 1099-R are available via myPay beginning in late December. You can view, print and/or download the current tax year and the previous tax year 1099-R from myPay. This is located in the Statements section of your myPay account.
  •   DFAS.mil (https://www.dfas.mil) – Click Retired Military & Annuitant in the blue banner, look for the second box at the top of the page that says “Click to request a duplicate 1099-R.” This online request tool is available for both retirees and annuitants. 

Or

  • Contact our Customer Care Center at 1-800-321-1080 and speak to a customer care representative.


3.  Is SBP annuity pay eligible for Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs)?

Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity pay is eligible for the same Cost-of-Living Adjustments as military retired pay. Information on COLA rates (effective December 1 of each year) is available at: https://militarypay.defense.gov/Pay/Retirement/cola 

 

4.  How do I adjust my Federal tax withholdings for my SBP annuity?

Self-Service options include:

  • myPay  (https://mypay.dfas.mil) – You can adjust your Federal withholdings using myPay. Use the appropriate sections in the Pay Changes section of your myPay account for Federal Withholding.
  • DFAS.mil (https://www.dfas.mil)  – Click Retired Military & Annuitant in the blue banner. On the left-hand menu, look for the hyperlink titled “FORMS.” Scroll down to the section titled “Tax Forms.” To start, stop, or change Federal withholding from SBP annuity pay, use the IRS Form W4-P. You can upload your completed and signed IRS Form W4-P via our online askDFAS upload tool, mail, or fax. Please see our “Manage Your SBP” webpage for details: https://www.dfas.mil/managesbp


5.  Can I have someone with Power of Attorney (POA) manage my SBP annuity pay for me? What needs to be in the POA document?

DFAS has several avenues for allowing a loved one or trusted individual to help with an annuitant's account. These avenues are called “third-party representation” and they fall into two categories, either non-pay-related or pay-related representation. Please note: DFAS is not authorized to accept a Durable Power of Attorney for annuitants. Visit our webpage for information on the different forms of third-party representatives accepted for SBP annuitants: https://www.dfas.mil/annthirdparty


6.  I’m the child of a military member and receiving SBP annuity pay. I will turn 22 in November, and I will still be attending school full-time. When does my SBP annuity pay stop?

If a child SBP annuitant attends school full-time (in high school or at an accredited college or university), SBP annuity payments can continue until they reach age 22 or otherwise become ineligible.
Note: “Child” refers to the annuitant’s relationship to the member, not the age of the annuitant. 

If a child SBP annuitant attends school full-time and the child's birthday is between September 1 and June 30, the child’s eligibility to receive SBP payments ends on July 1 following their 22nd birthday. If the child's birthday is in July or August, the annuity eligibility stops the first day of the month in which the annuitant reaches age 22. 

Please see our “Manage Your SBP” webpage for more information on SBP eligibility: https://www.dfas.mil/managesbp


FAQs for Specific Forms

Initial SBP Annuity Claim Packet and SF 1174 for a Retiree's Last Paycheck

 

Dealing with the death of a loved one can be very difficult.  Therefore, DFAS created the information below to assist you with claiming the Survivor Benefit Plan annuity and/or any unpaid compensation. Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding the Annuity Packet and the SF 1174 (Claim for Unpaid Compensation of Deceased Member of the Uniformed Service).

 

SF 1174 (Claim for Unpaid Compensation of Deceased Member of the Uniformed Service)

If you are submitting the SF 1174 to claim a deceased retiree’s Arrears of Pay, please see the How to Claim a Retiree’s Arrears of Pay Using the SF 1174 page for helpful tools and information.

If you are submitting the SF 1174 to claim a deceased SBP annuitant’s Arrears of Annuity, please see the Apply for Arrears of Annuity page for helpful information.

Q: Who is the claimant?

A: The person (or persons) who are entitled to the funds.

Q: Whose information is required in parts A7 through A10?

A: The deceased military member or deceased Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuitant’s information should appear under A7 through A10, as applicable.

Q: What is the Decedent’s domicile (A10)?

A: The state in which the military member or annuitant resided prior to passing away.

Q: Is Part C required?

A: If you are the widow(er) or the designated beneficiary and your information is in Part A, do not fill out Part C. If you are NOT the widow(er) and you are unsure if you are the designated beneficiary or you are not the designated beneficiary, fill out Part C with all requested information. Every claimant must complete an SF 1174. If there are more than two people claiming arrears, additional SF 1174 forms must be submitted.

Q: What if I am the executor and the decedent’s child?

A: If you are the executor and the decedent’s child, complete Part C and Part D. The executor must be court-ordered and provide the EIN tax ID number. Appointment of an executor through the will is not the same. Include a copy of the court documents appointing the executor (Letters of Testamentary, Letters Appointing Representative of Estate of Executor) when you submit the SF 1174.

Q: Do I need to fil out Part E?

A: Do not fill out Part E. Part E is no longer used.

Q: Do I need to sign the form?

A: The claimant or claimant(s) claiming arrears must complete the signature block(s) in full. If there are two claimants on one form, both must sign on the same date in front of the two witnesses. If there are more than two people claiming arrears, additional SF 1174 forms must be submitted.

Q: Do the witnesses have to be Notaries or Public Officials?

A: No, the witnesses can be anyone who is a disinterested party. There must be two witness signatures, even if there is only one applicant completing the form.

Please see the How to Claim Arrears of Pay Using the 1174 webpage for helpful tools and more information.


DD 2656-7 

(Verification for Survivor Annuity)

Note: Please see our “Start an Annuity” webpage for important information about the DD Form 2656-7 to start an SBP annuity.

 

Q: What type of benefit am I claiming under 2g?

A: Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)

Q: Part 3c asks if I am receiving an annuity from any other deceased military retiree. Does that refer to my current spouse?

A: No.  If you are currently receiving any payment from another retired military member, then you should fill out this section.

Q: On the top of the second page it is asking for the Deceased Member’s name and social security number. Do I have to fill this out again?

A: Yes, to ensure proper identification of all pages of the document.

Q: Do I need to fill out Part 6?

 A: If you are a spouse applicant and you have applied for, or intend to apply for benefits though the VA, you must fill out Part 6.

Please see the Start an SBP Annuity page for helpful tools and more information.


FMS 2231 

(Fast Start Direct Deposit)

Q: What is the Employee Payroll Identification Number?

A: The annuitant’s social security number.

Q: Whose name do I put for employee name?

A: The annuitant’s name (Last name, first name, middle initial/s).

Q: What type of account do I choose?

A: If the account information in Part 3 is a checking account, choose checking. If the account information in Part 3 is a savings account, choose savings.

Q: What type of payment do I choose?

A: It is net pay.

Q: What is the account title?

A: The annuitant’s name or, in the case of a child or incapacitated person, the representative payee’s name.

Q: What is an allotment, and what do I put for Part 4?

A: Do not fill out Part 4. We no longer process allotments for annuitants.

Q: Part 5 requests the employee’s signature. Who should sign?

A: The annuitant or the representative payee should sign and date.


 

IRS W-4P

(IRS Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments)

Please contact the IRS or a certified tax preparer for information or assistance with completing this form. If an IRS Form W4-P is not received, the default tax status that will be entered is married with 3 allowances.


There are additional forms required for a child account or an incapacitated child account:

  1. If the child is a minor, a DD Form 2790 (Custodianship of a Minor Child) is required. Please see the Start an SBP Annuity page for helpful tools and more information.
  2. A DD Form 2828 (Physician Certificate for Child Annuitant) is required for an incapacitated child account.
  3. If the child is over the age of 18, court-ordered guardianship paperwork is required for an incapacitated child account.

All of the forms described in this guide can be found on the Retired & Annuitant Pay Forms page.

Page Updated Feb 8, 2024