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Benefit overview

The Survivor Benefit Plan provides an ongoing monthly annuity payment to military spouses or children when a military member dies while on active duty, on inactive duty in the line of duty, or after retirement (if the retiree chooses to purchase coverage). A child’s eligibility to receive SBP payments ends when the child turns 18 unless proven to be in school or incapacitated/incapable of self-support and/or handling their own affairs.

If a child annuitant attends school full time (in high school or at an accredited college or university), the SBP annuity payments can continue until they reach age 22 or otherwise become ineligible. SBP child annuitants between 18 and 22 years old must regularly certify their status as an unmarried, full-time student to continue to receive annuity payments using DD Form 2278, Child Annuitant’s School Certification.

How this benefit helps

This benefit helps surviving children who are enrolled full-time in high school or at an accredited college or university by:

  • Continuing SBP annuity payments after the age of 18
  • Providing financial support during their studies
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Don’t lose your SBP benefits

Normally, a child would no longer qualify for SBP annuity payments when they turned 18 years old. But if they are enrolled as a full-time student in high school or at an accredited college or university and are unmarried, they can continue to receive the annuity until they turn 22.

How to access this benefit

To continue receiving SBP annuity payments, an eligible child needs to complete the DD Form 2278 annually. The form can be completed online on the DFAS website or can be mailed or faxed.

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