Survivor Benefit Plan Overview
Military retired pay stops upon death of the retiree!
The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) allows a retiree to ensure, after death, a continuous lifetime annuity for their dependents. The annuity which is based on a percentage of retired pay is called SBP and is paid to an eligible beneficiary. It pays your eligible survivors an inflation-adjusted monthly income.
A military retiree pays premiums for SBP coverage upon retiring. Premiums are paid from gross retired pay, so they don’t count as income. This means less tax and less out-of-pocket costs for SBP. The premiums are partially funded by the government and the costs of operating the program are absorbed by the government, so the average premiums are well below the cost for a conventional insurance policy. For most retirees, SBP is a good choice, but the government contribution is based on assumptions in average cases and may not apply equally to every situation.
The maximum SBP annuity for a spouse is based on 55 percent of the member’s retired pay (or in the case of a member who retires under REDUX, the retired pay the member would have received if under the high-three retirement system). However, a smaller amount may be elected.
Eligible children may also be SBP beneficiaries, either alone or added to spouse coverage. In the latter case, the children receive benefits only if the spouse dies or otherwise becomes ineligible to receive the annuity. Eligible children equally divide a benefit that is 55 percent of the member’s elected base amount. Child coverage is relatively inexpensive because children get benefits only while they are considered eligible dependents.
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