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DFAS School Certifications

Benefit overview

The Survivor Benefit Plan provides an ongoing monthly annuity payment to military spouses or children if 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 they are proven to be in school full-time 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 from 18 to 22 years of age must annually certify their status as an unmarried, full-time student to continue receiving annuity payments.

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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Changes to the eligibility verification for SBP annuitants

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service, or DFAS, simplified the eligibility verification requirements and forms in August 2023. Now, SBP annuitants only need to submit eligibility verification once each year.

How to access this benefit

To continue receiving SBP annuity payments, an eligible child needs to complete the DD Form 2788 annually, plus sign and return the pre-filled Child Annuitant’s Certification for Previous Attendance Letter they receive in the mail.

The DD Form 2788, Child Annuitant’s School Certification, can be completed using the PDF form or the DFAS Form Wizard. The form can also be submitted online via the DFAS website or can be mailed or faxed. View the DFAS School Certifications webpage for helpful tools, such as the Form Wizard and online upload tool.

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