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SBP Beneficiary Designations

As of Oct. 1, 2008, any retiree who has paid 360 months of SBP premiums and has reached the age of 70 is no longer be required to make monthly payments for their SBP coverage. If you meet these requirements, your SBP election and account will remain active, and benefits to annuitants will be uninterrupted, but there will be no further cost to you. To help you track your status, Retiree Account Statements (RAS) include a "premium counter" indicating the number of months of paid premiums credited to your account.

Updating Your SBP Beneficiary Designations

It is important to notify us as soon as possible when a beneficiary change occurs. Events like divorce or remarriage change the beneficiary status of your account. If you have not notified us of changes like this, you may have an invalid beneficiary designation. In the event of your death, we would be required to spend time identifying and then locating your rightful beneficiary. This would make it difficult or even impossible to process the benefit claim quickly, and might create a financial hardship for your loved ones.

Failing to Update Your SBP Beneficiary Could Have Financial Consequences

Making sure that we are aware of any changes in your beneficiaries will benefit you as well. If you do not inform us of a divorce, you could forfeit a refund of overpaid premiums. DFAS is barred by law from refunding payments retroactively beyond a six-year period. If a retiree divorces a spouse and does not notify us until 10 years after the fact, we will only be able to refund six years of those payments.

How to Update Your SBP Beneficiary Designations

To change or update your SBP beneficiary designation, please complete a Survivor Benefit Plan Election Change Certificate (DD 2656-6).

Legal documents such as marriage certificates, divorce decrees and birth certificates are essential to processing changes of beneficiary or claims under SBP. Forms and legal documents can be faxed or mailed to:

Defense Finance and Accounting Service
U.S. Military Retirement Pay
P.O. Box 7130
London, KY 40742-7130
Fax: 800-469-6559

Please only send copies of documents. Do not send the originals.

Changing or Stopping Your Coverage

The SBP election you make at the time of your retirement is very difficult to change. There are only a few circumstances in which it is possible to change or alter a previously made election. Please review the list below carefully to learn when you can change an SBP election and when you cannot.

To make this change, please complete a Survivor Benefit Plan Election Change Certificate (DD 2656-6) and mail or fax it to DFAS R&A Pay.

Enrolling after Retirement

Some service members choose not to enroll in the SBP plan because they have no eligible beneficiaries at the time of their retirement. Later, through marriage or the birth of a child, they find themselves with eligible beneficiaries and want to change their earlier election.

If this happens to you, you have one year from the date of initial eligibility -- the date of marriage or the birth date of the child -- to declare your wishes to have the beneficiary covered.

To do so, please mail or fax the following items to DFAS Retired and Annuitant Pay within one year of the date of eligibility:

  • Survivor Benefit Plan Election Change Certificate (DD 2656-6)
  • a copy of any relevant legal document (e.g., marriage certificate or birth certificate)

If you have eligible beneficiaries at the time of your retirement and elect not to have them covered, you will not be able to change that election in the future.

Ending SBP after Retirement

You are free to cancel or terminate your SBP election from the 25th month through the 36th month - or the third year - of your retirement. Please note that this window is an exit only, not an entrance, meaning that it applies only to withdrawing from an unwanted election and does not allow retirees to begin an election that they had earlier declined. As with declining at retirement, spousal concurrence is required.

If you believe you are eligible, please complete a Survivor Benefit Plan Termination Request (DD 2656-2) and mail or fax it to DFAS Retired and Annuitant Pay.

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