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Peter Griesch
Peter Griesch,
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 324
Experience:  Tax Counsel at AIG, Inc.
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I need to get help with an appeal spousal benefits. He died

Customer Question

I need to get help with an appeal for former spousal benefits. He died from cancer on Sept 2015 and he told me I would get the SBP.
My ex husband retired from the U S Army and did not update his records to reflect the sbp benefits.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  Peter Griesch replied 1 year ago.

Did he elect SBP at the time of his retirement, and just neglect to make you beneficiary, or did he not elect for SBP at retirement?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He was enrolled in the SBP while on active duty and continued until his death, when we divorced the SBP was still being deducted from his retirement. He was not told that once he was divorced he had one year to update the beneficary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was the beneficiary when it was started and I'm still listed. I need to file an appeal to get the SBP he promised me
Expert:  Peter Griesch replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately, the one year election requirement is statutory, meaning that relief may not be granted on appeal. Spousal coverage ends upon divorce; if a member divorces and wishes to provide SBP coverage for his former spouse, he must notify DFAS in writing of the divorce and his intention to provide coverage for his former spouse, even, as in your case, if the former spouse was the spousal beneficiary immediately before the divorce. See 10 U.S.C. § 1448(b)(3)(A). Former spouse coverage must be established within one year of the member's divorce. See 10 U.S.C. § 1448 (b)(3)(A). If the member is required under the terms of the divorce decree to provide SBP coverage to his former spouse and he fails or refuses to do so, the former spouse has one year from the date of the divorce to request a deemed election. See 10 U.S.C. § 1450(f)(3).

After that year has elapsed, a change to former spouse coverage based on the original divorce decree cannot be made.

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Expert:  Peter Griesch replied 1 year ago.

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