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How does divorce affect the Survivor Benefits Plan?

When you are going through a military divorce, there are several things that you have to consider that people going through civilian divorces don't have to consider. One of these is how you will handle the Survivor Benefits Plan for former spouses.

Who can claim the SBP coverage?

The SBP coverage election can only be designated to one former spouse. This means that if a military member has more than one former spouse, only one can be chosen. In some cases, the decision is easy because the court order for the divorce specifies that the coverage is ordered. In that case, that former spouse would have to be the one who has the elected option.

How do I claim coverage?

In order to have a former spouse added to the SBP, the former spouse and the military member have to sign a written statement. It must include information about why the coverage is being elected, such as a court order or a voluntary agreement. The written statement must be submitted to the finance center.

What if there are children involved?

It is possible for a former spouse and children to be elected as covered on the SBP. In this case, the former spouse would be first in line to get benefits. If the former spouse dies, the children would receive benefits.

There are several things that have to be considered when you are trying to decide on the SBP election. If you are unfamiliar with the SBP and other aspects of a military divorce, you should make sure that you get answers to your questions before you move forward with anything related to the divorce.

Source: Military.com, "SBP Former Spouse Coverage," accessed Feb. 12, 2016

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