Divorced? Widowed? Remarried?
Make Sure Your SBP Election is Current
Reservists who are between 20-years satisfactory service and reaching age 60 please read the article below also.
PPC (ras) often reminds retirees to update their Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) elections within one year of dependent changes such as marriage or remarriage. Ignoring this reminder can result in a retiree or surviving spouse accumulating a substantial debt or, in some cases, losing spouse SBP coverage.
For marriage or remarriage after retirement, there are two spouse SBP scenarios. The first scenario involves a retiree who had spouse SBP coverage, lost that spouse, and remarried. Spouse SBP premiums are suspended when there is no spouse SBP beneficiary. This retiree should contact PPC (ras) and provide either a divorce decree or death certificate. A retiree who wants to convert spouse SBP to former spouse SBP needs to notify PPC (ras) within one year of the divorce to change the SBP election to former spouse SBP. If the retiree remarries without changing the spouse SBP election to former spouse, the new spouse becomes an eligible SBP beneficiary on the first anniversary of the remarriage.
A remarried retiree has three options concerning spouse SBP coverage:
- decline SBP coverage for the new spouse and any future spouse;
- increase SBP coverage if the previous SBP election was for reduced spouse coverage; or
- resume previous spouse SBP coverage.
The retiree must inform PPC (ras) of the remarriage and choice of spouse SBP coverage by the first anniversary of the remarriage or, by law, the new spouse is automatically enrolled with the previous level of SBP coverage. Since the new spouse is the SBP beneficiary on the first anniversary of the marriage, the retiree owes SBP premiums from that date. If the retiree did not notify PPC (ras) of the remarriage, a debt will accumulate for spouse SBP premiums retroactive to the first anniversary of the remarriage. This can result in an unexpected debt to the retiree or surviving spouse of several hundred to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the length of time since remarriage.
The second scenario involves a retiree who did not have a spouse at retirement and married after retirement. The spouse SBP category is still open to this retiree. However, the retiree must provide PPC (ras) an SBP election for the new spouse within one year of the marriage or the category of spouse SBP is closed for that spouse and any future spouse. If the retiree elects SBP for the new spouse, PPC (ras) will start collecting the premiums from the date of the first anniversary of the marriage.
Retirees can update their SBP elections after marriage or remarriage by submitting a letter and supporting documentation (marriage certificate) to PPC (ras) within the first year of marriage. Send the letter and supporting documentation to: Commanding Officer (RAS), U. S. Coast Guard Pay & Personnel Center, 444 SE Quincy St., Topeka KS 66683-3591. For answers to questions about the SBP or for assistance in completing elections, please contact PPC (ras) at 1-800-772-8724 (toll-free).
Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP) Information for Reserve Personnel
Information for reservists who are between 20-years satisfactory service and reaching age 60.
If you have no spouse or children at the 20-year point, and later acquire a spouse and/or children you may elect to enroll your new beneficiaries in the RCSBP. You must request enrollment by completing a CG-11221, Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP) Option - Election Certificate , within one year of obtaining a spouse and/or child. A copy of the marriage and/or birth certificate must accompany request.
If you elect spouse coverage under Option B (deferred annuity) or C (immediate annuity), and your spouse dies, you may suspend your RCSBP spouse coverage. You must notify us and provide a copy of the death certificate. If you elected coverage for both spouse and children, your RCSBP child coverage would continue.
If you elect spouse coverage under Option B (deferred annuity) or C (immediate annuity), and later divorce, you have the following rights:
- You may suspend your RCSBP spouse coverage by providing a copy of your divorce decree.
- You may voluntarily elect to cover your former spouse under the RCSBP. Submit a written request, with a copy of your divorce decree.
If you remarry after losing your RCSBP spouse beneficiary, you have the following rights within one year of your remarriage:
- Provide the same RCSBP coverage you had for your previous spouse.
- Terminate your RCSBP spouse coverage.
- Increase your RCSBP Base amount up to full retired pay. (Additional costs will apply.)
NOTE: The opportunity to make any changes to your RCSBP election must be made within one year of your remarriage by written notification to us at the address provided below.
Commanding Officer (SEP)
U.S. Coast Guard Pay & Personnel Center
444 SE Quincy St
Topeka KS 66683-3591