A 2016 change to the law (contained in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act) finally allows a retiree with Survivor Benefit plan (SBP) coverage for a former spouse to transfer that coverage to his/her new spouse if the former spouse dies.
Previously, the law was ambiguous, but the Department of Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) had taken the position that if the former spouse died first, SBP coverage simply expired, and with it, all of the thousands of dollars in accumulated premium payments.
Now, the retiree has two options:
- If remarried at the time of the former spouse’s death, the SBP coverage can be transferred to the new spouse by notifying DFAS within one year of the former spouse’s death, and
- If not married at the former spouse’s death, but the retiree later remarries, that new spouse can be covered by notifying DFAS within one year of the marriage.
Finally, the law provides for “open season” enrollment – if a covered former spouse has already died, and the retiree was married on 11/25/2015, the retiree has until November 24, 2016 to enroll his/her current spouse in SBP.
Should you be in the midst of a military divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar either through email or telephone 978-844-4095 to schedule a free one hour no obligation consultation.