The Survivor Benefits Plan (SBP) is an insurance benefit that provides a monthly income (annuity) to any eligible spouse and children when a retired servicemember dies. The SBP covers the insured for his/her entire life, with no age limit. Upon death, it provides an inflation-protected annuity for the life of your surviving spouse or other eligible beneficiary.
The SBP payment depends on the elected base amount ($300/month to the full amount of the monthly retirement pay). The annuity is 55% of the base amount. The SBP is provided at no cost while on active duty, but is offset by any spouse dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC). Active duty-deaths are considered totally disabled, which means that retirement pay is based on 75% of base pay (subject to retirement plan rules for Final Pay, High 3 or REDUX). Participation is voluntary for retirees with payments made via deduction from retirement pay.
A recent study by the Rand Corporation entitled “An Assessment of the Military Survivor Benefit Plan,” responds to Congress’s request for evaluation of the program’s efficacy and the potential to commercialize the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). To read a summary of the report or the entire study, click here.