Former spouses of military retirees are usually entitled to continued SBP (Survivor Benefit Plan) coverage. According to the Air Force Retiree Services, “Coverage of a former spouse precludes coverage for a current spouse”.
Former Spouse SBP Costs
Premiums for former spouse SBP coverage are the same as spouse coverage. If the former spouse has been awarded a portion of the military retiree’s pension and they have also been awarded SBP coverage by the courts, the former spouse will actually be paying a portion of the SBP themselves.
The military retiree and their former spouse will need to reach an agreement on who actually pays the SBP premiums, as federal law does not permit DFAS to withhold all SBP premiums from a former spouse’s allotment of the retiree’s pension. That means if a former spouse will be solely responsible for meeting the monthly SBP premiums, they must find some other way to reimburse the retiree, rather than through DFAS.
Establishing Former Spouse SBP
Under certain circumstances, a former spouse can establish SBP coverage, even if they do not have the active co-operation and participation of the retiree. For example, if the retiree was required to provide former spouse coverage through a court order after 13 November 1986 or if the retiree provided written consent to provide coverage, then the former spouse can establish SBP.
Retiree Election for Former Spouse SBP
Alternatively, the retiree can personally elect to provide their former spouse with SBP coverage, such as when a court order mandates that they must do so. A retiree who elects to provide their former spouse with SBP coverage must ensure that their current spouse knows of the decision. However, their consent is not required.
Submit SBP Election Statement
After reaching a decision with regard to former spouse SBP coverage, the retiree and their former spouse must submit DD Form 2656-1, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) Election Statement For Former Spouse Coverage. The form must be signed by both the former spouse and the retiree and it should specify if the election for SBP coverage has been made voluntarily or of it is as the result of a court order, such as during the divorce proceedings. Send the completed form, along with supporting documentation to the following address:
US Military Retirement Pay,
PO Box 7130, London, KY 40742-7130
Former spouses of military retirees are usually still entitled to SBP coverage under the former SBP coverage plan. Consult the Air Force Retiree Services and SBP for more details.
Air Force Retiree Services