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P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
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Military Survivor Benefit Plan Questions

What is a survivor benefit plan?

A survivor benefit plan, or SBP, is a financial planning option that is often offered to individuals who serve in some branch of military service. Essentially, this type of plan helps to ensure that the spouse of a deceased military retiree continues to receive financial support for the remainder of his or her life. In situations where the retiree does not have a spouse, children may be designated to receive the benefits. For military retirees who do not have immediate family, the beneficiary of the survivor benefit plan can often be a close friend or even a business partner.

The exact structure of a survivor benefit plan may vary based on the nation or branch of the military that provides this type of benefit for its members. While there are differences, there are also a number of benefits found in just about any version of this plan. For example, this type of plan is often offered in addition to regular retirement benefits that have been issued. You can ask a Military lawyer on JustAnswer if you have questions regarding survivor benefit social security or survivor benefit plans from the military.

If someone receives social security survivor benefit from a death and remarries, is that considered a federal offense?

In some cases, remarrying does not stop the beneficiary from getting the benefits. Normally the receiver cannot get the benefits in the event of a remarriage before the age of sixty. If the beneficiary is disabled, this age would usually be fifty. However, if the person does decide to remarry after the age of sixty, this usually does not stop the benefit payments depending on the work done by the receiver’s former spouse.

In Pennsylvania, can a child’s survivor benefit be garnished?

In most situations it cannot be, because all Social Security benefits, RRB, government civilian, military, all disability and some private pensions are not subject to creditor action. States establish exemption laws; therefore some private pension plans are not fully protected by federal law and can be subject to creditor garnishment. All such benefits should be held in a separate account and made by automatic deposit. Exempted income should never be commingled with other funds, as this can result in a bank account being "frozen" by the court until an assessment is made as to what percentage of the funds are exempt from garnishment.

How many SBP options can one take when retiring from the military

When you retire, you may be able to elect any of the several Survivor Benefit Plan options. SBP elections cannot be canceled or changed after retirement, except in specific instances such as a change in your marital status or after the loss of a beneficiary. At retirement, full basic SBP for spouse and children will take effect automatically if you make no other valid election. You may not reduce or decline spouse coverage without your spouse's written consent. If you have a former spouse, it may affect your options.

Who can be covered by the SBP for Insurable Interest

The insurable interest option is normally available only if you are unmarried with either no dependent children or one dependent child. You may elect insurable interest coverage for that child regardless of the child's age or dependency. The following people can be covered by the SBP for Insurable Interest:
• Any relative more closely related to you than a cousin. This includes relatives such as parents, stepparents, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, half-sisters, half- brothers, dependent or nondependent child or stepchild; or
• A close business associate who would be financially affected by your death. This must be a natural person (not a company, organization, fraternity, etc.) with a financial interest in your life.

Being married to someone in the military seems to be a whole different world than civilian marriages. Not only are the benefits different, many times the laws concerning specific topics differ from civilian marriage. If you have questions regarding survivor benefits plans or military laws regarding survivor benefits, ask Military Lawyers on JustAnswer.

Ask a Military Lawyer

P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 11861
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
11181181
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Recent Survivor Benefit Plan Questions

  • How can I find out if my former, retired military spouse has

    How can I find out if my former, retired military spouse has paid up COURT-ORDERED SURVIVOR BENEFIT PLAN (SBP) , or if not paid up, when will it be paid up. I have no idea of his whereabouts or address (possibly in FL). I know the rule 70 yrs/360 months; He is 77.
    In sum, all I need to know if SBP is paid up, or when will it be paid up. Thank you in advance.
  • Thank you Mr Gorin for your service. I retired from the US

    Thank you Mr Gorin for your service. I retired from the US AirForce in 1987. At that time my wife to be the beneficiary of the survivor benefit plan. We were divorced in May 1997. The awarded her half of my retired pay and I to pay for and keep her as beneficiary for the survivor benefit plan. When I received my divorce documents, I took them and her ID card to military personnel, Travis Air Force Base. I turned in the ID card and insured that my ex wife was kept as the beneficiary of the survivor benefit plan. Survivor Benefit deductions are current. I have over the years called DFAS to insure my ex-wife was still the beneficiary. However we are in the process of setting it up so she can receive her half of my retirement pay. The ex-wife had a question about direct deposit, which DFAS answered. She also checked to see if she was beneficiary they told her no. Unbelievable, I called DFAS to check. Bear in mind I last called them this past March. They told me yes, and then I asked if they were sure. She told hold while while she gets her supervisor. He told me know because they didn't have any paperwork on file. I told him that's impossible. I've been calling them periodically for years and have cellphone records to prove it.
    Bot***** *****ne, he told me to submit DD 149, and all related documents to the Board for Correction of Air Force Records to reinstated former spouse coverage. The board will then if approved will forward everything to DFAS. I cannot believe this. My question is, is DFAS telling me the truth? Your opinion sir would be appreciated. You know every time you call they have a recording that tells your conversation will be recorded. I'm upset. I sure hope they did record the conversations. Your opinion please. If no, what are my options?
  • Good Afternoon Mr. Gorin,I am a retired veteran who upon

    Good Afternoon Mr. Gorin, I am a retired veteran who upon divorcing signed a PSA that said "husband shall maintain in full force and effect the survivor benefit plan currently associated with his military retirement". (My former wife and I had elected this coverage at the time of my retirement). The PSA is part of the divorce decree (no other mention of the SBP occurrs in either the PSA, divorce decree, or any other exhibit attached to the decree.). So was she awarded the SBP? So, over the years I did not do anything to the SBP as I was not instructed nor aware that I needed to contact DFAS and change my election to "former spouse" from "spouse" thus leaving my SBP in full force as is. My former spouse did not contact DFAS either within the year after the divorce (or "deem" the election): I am told by her she was not aware of this necessary step either. Now, 4.5 years after the divorce my former spouse would like me to contact the Air Force to change my military record and appeal their decision to NOT award my former spouse due to the lack of activity within the first year after the divorce (on either her or my part). I do not agree with her ask to voluntarily change my military record after a 4.5 year period. In addition, I was remarried 3 years after my divorce and subsequently (during the ask from my former spouse) have asked DFAS to change my SBP election to my new spouse. DFAS has since refunded me my premiums during this 3 year period and my former spouse has now filed a "contempt" of court document within our Virginia county residence. Based on the facts above, do you counsel that I am likely in a contempt of court situation? Many thanks for any and all guidance in this matter, Clark xxxx

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