Ask June: Remarriage reinstates SBP, but not for a Year

Writing on a paper with a pen.

Q:  I just remar­ried my pre­vi­ous hus­band of 27 years who is now 81 years old and in poor health. He needs a care­giver. Since he is retired mil­i­tary and we were mar­ried when he was in the Army and when he retired we elected SBP we were told the plan would be imme­di­ately rein­stated. We have four chil­dren. Now they are say­ing that if he dies within one year no ben­e­fits will be paid. I think this infor­ma­tion is wrong. Please help clar­ify. Thank­ing you in advance.

-- Judith

A:  Unfor­tu­nately, I believe the infor­ma­tion you are receiv­ing is accu­rate. Your husband's Sur­vivor Ben­e­fit Plan (SBP) cov­er­age and pre­mi­ums were sus­pended when you were ini­tially divorced. When you remar­ried, you auto­mat­i­cally became the new eli­gi­ble spouse ben­e­fi­ciary, but this cov­er­age and the pre­mi­ums asso­ci­ated with it are not in effect until the first anniver­sary of the mar­riage. It sounds as if you've already done this, but cer­tainly you could con­tact the Defense Finance and Account­ing Ser­vice (DFAS). Check these fre­quently asked ques­tions for a lit­tle more insight. Since you were you cov­ered as a for­mer spouse per­haps that might have some impact on the out­come. It's worth a call. I wish you the best.

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