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The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) can be an important part of the income strategy for survivors of military retirees, even survivors who came on to the scene after military service was over. In some cases, marriage is one of the situations in which you can add SBP coverage after retirement.
Hello Kate –
I just married an Air Force Retiree. He is 69 and I am 55. I am still working but he is completely retired. At his age, life insurance is fairly expensive. I have been researching what benefits may be available to me as his wife.
He has been retired from the Air Force for > 9 years. Now that he has a new wife, do you know if the Survivor Benefit Plan is an option for us?
From what I have read I believe the premium would still be less than life insurance. I think the premium would be worth the lifetime benefits to me, if I survive him.
Please let me know if you know the answer to this question and we would appreciate any advice you have.
I’m really happy that this new family started researching their options quickly, because there is a one-year window to elect SBP coverage if you are eligible due to a marriage. I’ve talked to far too many folks who didn’t think about this until 5, 10 or 20 years down the road.
Congratulations on your marriage!
Your husband’s ability to add SBP coverage for you will depend on whether he was married at the time of retirement, and if he was married, whether he elected SBP coverage for his then-wife.
If he was not married at the time of retirement, he can add SBP coverage for you within 1 year of marriage.
If he was married at retirement, and declined SBP coverage for his then-spouse, he is unable to elect SBP coverage for you.
If he was married at retirement, and elected SBP coverage for his then-spouse, he can elect SBP coverage for you unless the divorce decree states that he must maintain former spouse SBP coverage.
This page explains it well:
I hope that helps,
Every military family should understand the Survivor Benefit Plan, the benefits it provides during active duty, and the choices that will need to be made if the service member earns retirement. It’s important stuff!
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