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The Survivor Benefit Plan: A Guide to Understanding and Using it.

If you have been living without a financial plan, it can be overwhelming and confusing to understand how best to protect yourself and your family. Losing a loved one is one of the most challenging things that a military family may face. Not only do they have to bear the emotional burden of the loss, but they may also have to face financial challenges, especially if the loved one was the primary provider of the family. There is help available for military families: the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). The SBP provides benefits that can help a family meet their ongoing expenses after the death of a service member or retiree. It’s essential that all active duty personnel, retirees, and veteran dependents learn about this valuable resource so they can maximize its potential and use it on an as-needed basis in order to ensure economic stability. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about surviving financially with the SBP – from learning how it works in detail to understanding eligibility requirements to knowing which benefits are included when utilizing SBP correctly. Read on and equip yourself with financial knowledge now!

 Introducing the Survivor Benefit Plan - What It Is and How It Can Help

The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) is a government program designed to provide financial security to survivors of military service members who died on active duty, the result of a service-connected disability or who pay for the benefit as a part of their retirement. The plan pays an annuity that provides income for surviving family members, including spouses and children. It can also provide benefits for former spouses and dependents.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognizes the SBP as a qualified survivor plan and allows eligible survivors to exclude certain payments from their taxable income. This means that any annuity payments received under the Survivor Benefit Plan are not subject to federal taxation, allowing eligible beneficiaries to keep more of their benefits.  The Survivor Benefit Plan is helpful for families who have suffered the loss of a loved one. By providing financial security, it can help ease the burden of such a devastating loss. In addition, it can provide a source of income for surviving family members that may be used to cover daily living expenses or to pay for educational expenses for children or grandchildren.

Understanding Eligibility Requirements for the Survivor Benefit Plan 

To be eligible for SBP benefits, you must meet specific requirements. Generally, an immediate family member who was married to the service member when they died or were medically retired is eligible for SBP. Additionally, certain people who had a committed relationship with the service member may be eligible.  If you meet the requirements to receive SBP benefits, you will receive a monthly annuity payment until you reach age 62, at which point payments will cease unless an election is made to have the payments continue to the end of your life. You can also elect a reduced annuity at age 62, which would provide lower payments but will last as long as you live. If you choose to have the SBP benefits paid after age 62, you must make this election within one year of reaching that age.

The Department of Defense (DoD) reviews eligibility for SBP benefits on an individual basis, and it is important to remember that your eligibility can be affected by factors including the service member's marital status at the time of death or retirement, length of service, branch of service, date of entry into service, and other requirements.

For more information and assistance in understanding your eligibility for SBP benefits, contact a DoD-certified SBP counselor or your base legal office. You can also visit Military OneSource for additional resources and support.

It is important to remember that the conditions of eligibility for SBP benefits are subject to change, so it is wise to review your situation periodically in order to make sure you understand and comply with any new requirements.  Taking the time to understand your eligibility and make informed decisions about your SBP benefits can help ensure that you receive the maximum benefit possible for yourself or other eligible beneficiaries.

Protecting Your Family’s Financial Security With the Survivor Benefit Plan 

The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) is a great way to ensure that your loved ones are financially secure in the event of death or disability. The plan provides a monthly annuity payment to an eligible survivor, generally 55% of the retiree's full military retired pay. With the SBP, you can make sure that your family is taken care of in the event of death or disability. 

While the plan comes with a lifetime income guarantee for survivors, it also involves some important decisions on how to best fund and manage this benefit. Because it’s an insurance-based plan, it has some unique features that differ from other retirement benefits.

For example, SBP premiums are based on the retiree's age and coverage level. As such, it is important to plan for any increases in premium payments that may occur if the retiree lives longer or takes an increased coverage amount. It is also important to consider the effects of inflation on annuity payments and plan accordingly.  Additionally, the SBP offers a number of tax advantages that can help preserve more money for survivors. All premiums paid on behalf of the deceased retiree are not taxable as income to the beneficiary and all “death benefits” received by the beneficiary are also tax-free.  Finally, it is important to consider the SBP's impact on your estate. As a life insurance based plan, the death benefit can be used to pay off any remaining debts or taxes that are due at the time of death. This feature can help ease some of the financial burden for survivors and ensure that more money remains in the family.

Important considerations when deciding whether or not to enroll in the Survivor benefit plan.

When deciding whether or not to enroll in the Survivor benefit plan, there are several important considerations. First, consider your current financial situation and how much you could afford to pay into the plan each month. If you have sufficient savings to cover basic living expenses and any other long-term goals, then it may be a good idea to contribute to the Survivor benefit plan.

Second, consider how much coverage you need and how long it will last. It's important to make sure that the amount of coverage is adequate for any dependents who might be relying on it in the event of death. 

Third, evaluate the various options available to you and decide which one will best meet your needs. Consider factors such as cost, flexibility, and coverage levels. Additionally, ensure that you understand the terms and conditions before signing up. This will help you make an informed decision and avoid unexpected costs.

Fourth, take the time to read through any reviews or customer feedback about the Survivor benefit plan. This will provide insight into what other people have experienced when using the plan and can help you make an informed decision. Additionally, reading through reviews and comments from current users can also give you a better understanding of how the plan works and whether or not it is a good fit for your needs.

Finally, consider talking to an expert or financial advisor who can help you assess the benefits and risks associated with enrolling in the plan. A professional will be able to provide advice based on your individual circumstances and ensure that you are making a wise decision about signing up for the Survivor benefit plan.


The Survivor Benefit Plan is a valuable resource that can provide financial security to military families, particularly in the event of a tragic loss. However, it's essential to understand the program's nuances and provisions to make well-informed decisions that will protect your family's financial future. By following these tips and exploring the resources available, you'll be better prepared to benefit from the program and achieve the peace of mind you deserve.