Re-starting Survivor Benefits Program

There are limited conditions under which SBP may be re-started (or started) after retirement. Here are the common situations that apply.


If spouse coverage is elected and the spouse is lost through death or divorce, SBP coverage is suspended. If the member remarries and has not converted to former spouse coverage, three options are available. The member must notify DFAS of the desired option within one year of the new marriage. If the member fails to notify DFAS, option 1 below will automatically take effect on the first anniversary of the remarriage and the member will be responsible for premium costs beginning the first day of the 13th month. The three options are:
  1. Resume the original level of spouse coverage.
  2. Elect not to resume spouse SBP coverage, in which case the spouse will be notified and the election cannot be changed.
  3. Elect to cover an increased portion of retired pay.
In some instances former spouse coverage may be changed to spouse coverage.

The associated impacts on monthly spouse premium amounts are:

  1. Resume original coverage: Costs will be the same as they would have been under the original election, as increased by COLAs, had that election remained in effect since it was first made. In other words, premiums will be increased by the adjustments that occurred while SBP was suspended.
  2. Terminate SBP spouse coverage: No additional deductions will be taken from retired pay for SBP coverage.
  3. Increase level of covered retired pay: Retroactive payments must be made WITHIN ONE YEAR of the new marriage. These payments will be computed as if the increased coverage had been in effect from the date of the original election until the costs were suspended, minus all costs actually paid to that date. Interest charges will apply. No costs will be attributed to the period during which SBP was suspended. The new monthly costs will be those that would apply if the increased coverage had been in effect since retirement.
Effect of Child Coverage

If the original SBP election was for spouse and child coverage, the spouse cost will be as described above. The cost of the child's coverage will be based on the new spouse's age, the member's age and the age of the youngest child at the time the election becomes effective (1st anniversary of the new marriage), unless one of the originally covered children remain eligible SBP beneficiaries. Contact DFAS or your personnel counselor for further explanations.

Effective Dates

Coverage and costs for an election for a new spouse are effective after one year of marriage or upon the birth of a child of that marriage, whichever occurs first. If remarried to the spouse for whom you elected coverage at the time of retirement, coverage and costs are effective immediately.