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Understanding SBP, DIC and SSIA Webpage


The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)

The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) provides financial support to military spouses and/or children when a military member dies while on duty or after retirement.

SBP provides eligible beneficiaries with a monthly payment known as an annuity. The recipient of an SBP annuity is referred to as the annuitant.

The amount of the SBP benefit is a percentage of retired pay. The percentage depends upon whether the member chooses full or reduced coverage at the time of election (generally at retirement or at 20-year qualification). SBP provides up to 55 percent of a service member's retired pay to an eligible beneficiary upon the death of the member.

After the service member passes away, the SBP annuity is paid out monthly to the surviving spouse, or to the child or children of the member.


Check Out Our New Survivor SBP Newsletter - October Issue Now Online! 


DFAS has a new Survivor SBP Newsletter! Check out the October issue, with a special article for surviving spouses who lost a loved one in the line of duty and chose the SBP Optional Annuity for Dependent Children, helpful information about the SBP-DIC Offset Phased Elimination, tips to make tax season easier, and more! We also have a downloadable PDF of the newsletter you can share with other survivors. Get it here: https://www.dfas.mil/survivornews 


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Please see our  SBP-DIC News webpage for details and Frequently Asked Questions about the SBP-DIC Offset Elimination

Please see our  new, special focus webpage for Active Duty/Line of Duty survivors who requested the SBP Optional Child Annuity.

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SBP for Spouses and DIC Benefits from the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA)

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a monetary benefit offered by the VA to survivors of service members and retirees whose death results from a service-related injury or disease. 

Prior to 2023, Spouse SBP annuitants, except for those who remarried after age 55 (or in other specific circumstances), could not receive full SBP and DIC payments at the same time. Their SBP payment was offset (reduced) by all or part of their DIC payment. This did not affect their DIC payment, only their SBP payment.

Beginning on February 1, 2023, surviving spouses will receive their full Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) payment from DFAS and their full Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payment from the VA. This is because February 1, 2023 will be the first SBP annuity payday after the SBP-DIC Offset is fully eliminated, which takes effect January 1, 2023. 

Please note: DIC payments made directly to children, or to a guardian on behalf of children, do not affect SBP child annuity payments.

The SBP-DIC Offset Prior to 2023 

As an example, in 2022, when DFAS was informed by the VA that a spouse annuitant was receiving DIC, the law required that DFAS deduct one-third of the amount of DIC received from the amount of SBP payable and pay the remaining amount of the SBP to the annuitant. This was called the SBP-DIC Offset.
*The reduction of the SBP-DIC Offset from the full amount of DIC to one-third of DIC was effective January 1, 2022. 

On January 1, 2023, the offset was completely eliminated. Eligible surviving spouses now receive their full SBP payments AND their full DIC payments. 

Please note the change in the law DOES NOT affect DIC payments, it only affects SBP payments when the surviving spouse is also receiving DIC. Please see our SBP-DIC news webpage for details and FAQs. 

The Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA)

Prior to 2023, when a spouse was eligible to receive SBP and DIC, and the SBP payment was subject to the SBP-DIC Offset, the spouse also received the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA).

The Special Survivors Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) will no longer be paid after the January 3, 2023 payment, because SSIA is only paid to spouses who have their SBP payment offset by DIC. 

How Remarriage May Impact a Spouse SBP Annuity

Surviving spouses maintain their eligibility for SBP until death, as long as they do not remarry before the age of 55. If the annuitant remarries before age 55, annuity payments will stop.

However, if the marriage of an annuitant (who remarried before age 55) later ends for any reason, their eligibility for the annuity is reinstated, effective on the first day of the month the marriage ends. The annuity payments will be restarted, once DFAS has received and processed the notification and documents. See more information at: www.dfas.mil/managesbp

In addition, spouse annuitants who remarried after age 55 were entitled to receive full SBP and DIC benefits at the same time. This is the result of a 2009 court** decision. According to the ruling, DFAS was not required to offset DIC payments from a monthly SBP annuity if a spouse is entitled to both benefits and remarried after age 55.

How to Notify DFAS of a Change in Marital Status

Annuitants are responsible for notifying DFAS of any changes to their marital status.

To notify us of a remarriage prior to age 55, please complete the following form and mail or fax it with a copy of your marriage certificate to DFAS U.S. Military Annuitant Pay:

1. COE (Annuitant Certificate of Eligibility)

To notify us of a remarriage after age 55, please complete the following forms and mail or fax to DFAS U.S. Military Annuitant Pay:

1. DD 2656-7 (Verification for Survivor Annuity)

2. IRS W-4P (Withholding for Pension or Annuity Payments) 

3. Direct Deposit start-up form 

To notify us of a marriage termination to restart an SBP annuity, please complete the following forms and mail or fax to DFAS U.S. Military Annuitant Pay:

1. DD 2656-7 (Verification for Survivor Annuity)

2. IRS W-4P (Withholding for Pension or Annuity Payments)

3. Direct Deposit start-up form

What initiates the SBP benefit and what does a beneficiary have to do?

The designated SBP beneficiary becomes eligible to receive SBP benefits on the day after a service member’s death. The first step a beneficiary must take to initiate SBP benefits is to report the death. Please visit our Reporting a Death page for step-by-step instructions.
 

**2009 U.S. Court of Appeals decision in the matter of Sharp, et.al. v. the United States
Note: The information on this website is provided to explain typical situations regarding retiree and annuitant benefits. For details and exceptions, please see applicable laws, financial management regulations, and instructions.

Page updated on Dec 31, 2022