Important Payment Changes College-Age Child Annuitants Need to Know
One option available for retirees to provide financially for their children is to elect the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). SBP for children is calculated and paid differently than for a spouse. The total amount paid is the same, but where the whole amount would go to the member’s spouse, instead that same amount is divided equally among all eligible children.
An eligible dependent child under the plan must be:
- A legal child under the age of 18
- If older than 18, enrolled in an accredited college or university (children enrolled in higher education are eligible until they reach age 22 or leave school)
- Incapacitated or disabled children are eligible under special rules
DFAS has implemented a new procedure for reapportioning Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) funds for child annuitants. The new procedure was prompted by an opinion issued by the Office of General Counsel (OGC). Under the new procedure, a dependent child’s share will not be reapportioned until evidence is received that the child’s eligibility has ended.
To receive continuing SBP funds, a child annuitant who is over 18 and attending school must submit a Child Annuitant's School Certification (DD 2788) form, certifying their full-time attendance in school during the term. If the school certification for a child annuitant over the age of 18 is not received within 60 days of the last day of the school term, the child annuitant’s account is suspended and the portion of the funds due the annuitant are held.
Previously, if the child annuitant did not submit proof of eligibility, six months after the account was suspended the funds were reapportioned and paid equally to the eligible siblings of the child annuitant. Now, when a child annuitant’s account is suspended, the funds will be held until the child is proven eligible or ineligible. A child annuitant can permanently lose eligibility to SBP if they get married, join the military, turn 22 years old, or pass away.
This change in procedure will reduce debts created for child annuitants who were paid money that was due to a sibling.