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Former Spouse Coverage

SBP allows selection of coverage for former spouses. Costs and benefits under this option are identical to those for spouse coverage. This web page highlights key aspects of former spouse coverage.

Election of coverage for a former spouse PRECLUDES coverage of the current spouse and/or children of the current spouse.

When former spouse coverage is elected, the current spouse must be informed. Only one SBP election may be made. If there is more than one former spouse, the member must specify which one will be covered.


When electing the former spouse option, a member must give the finance center a written statement signed by both the member and the former spouse. It must state:

    a. Whether the election is made in order to comply with a court order; or,
    b. Whether the election is made to comply with a voluntary written agreement related to a divorce action, and if so, whether that voluntary agreement is part of a court order for divorce, dissolution, or annulment.

Benefit Payments

The SBP annuity is determined by the base amount you elect. The base amount may range from a minimum of $300 up to a maximum of full retired pay. The annuity is 55 percent of the base amount. Also, the base amount and the payments to the beneficiary will generally increase at the same time and by the same percentage that cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) are made to retired pay.

Former Spouse Remarriage

Your surviving former spouse may remarry after age 55 and continue to receive SBP payments for life. If remarried before age 55, SBP payments will stop, but may be resumed if the marriage later ends due to death, divorce or annulment.

SBP Costs (Premiums)

See "Spouse" Costs and Benefits.


Former spouse and children coverage may also be elected. The children covered are the eligible children from the marriage of the member to the covered former spouse. The children will only receive SBP payments if the former spouse dies or remarries before age 55. Eligible children will divide 55 percent of the covered retired pay in equal shares. See Spouse or Former Spouse and Children for more information.

Changes Due to Divorce After Retirement

If you have spouse coverage and later divorce, review Stopping SBP.

Special Note

P.L. 106-65, 5 Oct 99, provides that a participant is considered "paid-up" after completing 30 years (360 payments) in the Plan. This applies to a specific category of beneficiary (i.e., spouse), at a specific base amount (i.e., full retired pay). Contact your personnel counselor for details on this feature, which is not effective until Oct. 1, 2008.

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Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness