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What You Need to Know About Former Spouse SBP
For retirees who have elected or were court ordered to elect former spouse coverage under the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and have an active deduction under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA), here’s what you need to know in regards to how the cost for the plan impacts both your pay and the pay of the former spouse
Pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 1452, the SBP premium must be deducted from the member’s retired pay. The SBP premium cannot be deducted from the former spouse’s portion of the member’s retired pay. Any provision in a court order stating that the premium should be deducted from the former spouse’s portion is unenforceable by DFAS Garnishment Law Directorate. The former spouse and the member may make alternate payment arrangements outside of the statedprocedures.
If the former spouse is awarded a percentage of your retired pay, then SBP is an authorized deduction which will reduce disposable retired pay. Disposable retired pay is defined by the USFSPA as a member’s total monthly retired pay entitlement minus authorized deductions. If the former spouse and the member were divorced on or before February 2, 1991, then USFSPA authorized the following deductions:
1. Amounts owed to the United States.
2. Amounts withheld as federal and state income tax withholding (FITW/SITW), consistent with the member’s current actual tax liability.
3. Fines and forfeitures ordered by a court-martial.
4. Amounts waived in order to receive compensation under Titles 5 or 38 of the U.S.C.
5. SBP premiums paid, but only if the former spouse applying for a retired pay award payment under USFSPA is the beneficiary of the SBP.
6. The amount of retired pay for a member retired under Title 10, Chapter 61 computed based on percentage of disability.
If the former spouse and the member were divorced on or after February 3, 1991, then the USFSPA authorizes the following deductions:
1. Amounts owed to the United States due to the overpayment of retired pay, or amounts required to be recouped due to the member’s entitlement to retired pay.
2. Fines and forfeitures ordered by a court-martial
3. Amounts waived in order to receive compensation under Titles 5 or 38 of the U.S.C.
4. SBP premiums paid but only if the former spouse applying for a retired pay award payment under USFSPA is the beneficiary of the SBP.
5. The amount of retired pay for a member retired under Title 10, Chapter 61 computed based on percentage of disability.
How to Apply
To apply for payments under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act, a completed application form (DD Form 2293) signed by a former spouse together with a copy of the applicable court order certified by the clerk of the court should be sent either by facsimile or by mail to:
Defense Finance and Accounting Service
P.O. Box 998002
Cleveland, Ohio 44199-8002
Phone: 888-DFAS411 (1-888-332-7411)
Fax: 877-622-5930 (toll free)
To ensure your document is processed in a timely and efficient manner, please include the following information on the fax document:
- Member/Employee Social Security Number (SSN) - Court orders/documents will not be processed if the SSN is not on the document
- Return phone number
- Return Fax number
Please ensure original documents are clear and legible. In each fax transmission, include only correspondence for one member or employee (if there are multiple documents for one member, they can be sent on one fax transmission).
The application form should state which awards the former spouse is seeking to enforce under USFSPA (i.e., alimony, child support, and/or division of retired pay as property). If the application does not contain this information, then only awards of retired pay as property will be enforced under the USFSPA. A former spouse should also indicate the priority of the awards to be enforced in case there is not sufficient disposable retired pay to cover multiple awards.
The court order should contain sufficient information for us to determine whether the Service Member Civil Relief Act (SCRA or SSCRA), and the USFSPA's jurisdictional and 10/10 requirements (if applicable) [link will be enabled on the website] have been met.
If we cannot determine the parties' marriage date from the court order, then the former spouse must submit a photocopy of their marriage certificate. If the former spouse is requesting child support, and the court order does not contain the birth dates of the children, the former spouse must provide photocopies of their birth certificates.
A retired-pay-as-property award must be expressed as a fixed dollar amount or percentage of disposable retired pay. If the parties were divorced prior to the member's retirement, the court order can express the award as an acceptable formula or hypothetical retired pay award.
Be sure you include the following items:
___ DD2293 application form completed and signed
___ Certified copy of Decree of Divorce, Dissolution, Annulment or Legal Separation
___ Marriage Certificate, if marriage date is not included in order
___ Birth dates of children included, or copy(s) of birth certificates (if applying for child support)
___ If order does not include entitlement award, include document that has it (i.e. Qualified Domestic Relations Order or Separation Agreement)
___ Completed Direct Deposit form
___ Completed IRS W4-P
Updated Nov 6, 2017