Paycheck Chronicles

Special, Limited SBP Open Season Ends Soon


The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) is having a limited open season for retirees who fall in a very specific group.  The special SBP open season ends 24 November 2016, so read on to see if this applies to you.

Who Is Eligible?

This open season only applies to retired military members who:
  1. had been providing SBP coverage for former spouses, and
  2. the former spouse has since died, and
  3. the retiree wishes to provide SBP coverage to a subsequent spouse.
If you are eligible for this special open season, you should have been contact by mail.  However, there are many reasons why the notification may not have been received, including an incorrect address in Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) records, poor mail service, or just overlooking the notice.

The open season does not apply if:

  • the retiree is not currently married, or
  • former spouse SBP coverage was cancelled for any reason other than the death of the former spouse.

What's The Process?

Eligible members who received a notification should follow the instructions included in the notification.  If you believe your are eligible, but did not receive a notification, you should contact DFAS very quickly.  The address to contact can be found at

While you wait for DFAS to respond, you can start collecting the necessary paperwork, which may include:

  • Certificate of Death for the Former Spouse
  • Marriage Certificate for Current Spouse
  • Birth Certificate for Current Spouse
  • Expression of Interest Form
Upon receipt of the necessary paperwork, DFAS will give you an estimate of the cost of the coverage, and a calculation of the retroactive premiums required from the effective date of coverage.

You will have to review the costs and premiums when you receive the packet from DFAS,   If you want to proceed, you must fill out and sign the Final Election form and return it to the indicated address with a postmark on or before 24 November 2016.

Important Notes

The retiree is responsible for all retroactive premiums.  These may be paid in a lump sum, or over a period of time not to exceed 24 months.

Any election made under this open season is irrevocable.

As you can see, there are several steps to the process and only 23 more days until the deadline.  If you believe that you are eligible for this open season, and you would like to cover your current spouse, you need to take action quickly.

This open season is a result of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016.  In it, the SBP rules were changed to permit retirees to designate a subsequent spouse for SBP coverage if the retiree had previously been covering a former spouse and the former spouse was no longer living.  Because the rules change was not retroactive, this open season permits action by retirees whose former spouse was already deceased when the rule was changed.


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