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A beneficiary is the person who receives the RCSBP payment when the service member dies.  When you elect RCSBP, you are really electing coverage for a category of beneficiary.  The RCSBP has 6 beneficiary categories:
· Spouse (Only)
· Spouse and Child(ren)
· Child(ren) Only
· Insurable Interest
· Former Spouse (Only)
· Former Spouse and Child(ren)

Spouse only

Your spouse will receive a monthly survivor annuity check of 55% of your retirement pay or the lesser amount that you designate as your base amount of coverage.  Your spouse will receive monthly survivor annuity checks for life, provided he/she does not remarry before age 55.  Survivor payments are suspended if this happens; however, if that marriage ends in death or divorce, the survivor annuity payments will be reestablished.

It is important to understand that, with spouse coverage, you are covering not only the spouse you have at the time you enroll, but also any spouse you might marry in the future.  A legal separation or a pending divorce classifies you as still being married and having an eligible spouse beneficiary.

If you lose your spouse through death or divorce and then remarry, coverage for a subsequent spouse automatically goes into effect on your one-year anniversary unless you terminate participation, with spouse concurrence, during the first year of your remarriage.

If you become divorced after you make an election into the plan (and there is no stipulation in the divorce decree to convert it to former spouse coverage) or if your spouse dies before you start receiving retirement pay at age 60, no premium will be withheld from your retirement pay for past coverage.

Spousal concurrence is required if spouse coverage is selected for Option “B” or for less than the maximum coverage.

You can view the RCSBP cost factor chart for spouse  beneficiaries only by clicking here.


The definition of a “child” includes your natural child through a current or prior marriage, an adopted child, stepchild, foster child, or recognized natural child living with you at the time of your death.  Note: stepchild coverage ends with divorce.

Coverage is not limited to the child(ren) you have at the time of your election, but extends automatically to any child(ren) acquired thereafter.

All eligible children share the survivor payment equally until age 18 (age 22, if a full-time student).  There is no age limit for survivor annuity payments to unmarried children who are mentally or physically incapable of self-support due to a condition that existed before age 18 (age 22, if in a full-time student).

The cost for this coverage is based on your age and the age of your youngest child at the time of your original election.  The cost will be recalculated for any child born or adopted at a later date.

There is a permanent cost reduction for child coverage that continues even after your child(ren) cease to be eligible beneficiaries.  The cost is minimal.

If you are unmarried during the 90-day eligibility enrollment period and elect the ‘child(ren) only’ coverage, but later acquire a spouse, this coverage may be broadened to include your new spouse.  However, this election change must be made in writing and submitted to the Navy Personnel Command (PERS-912) within one year of the date of marriage at the above address.

If you have eligible dependent children during your enrollment period and choose not to cover them, any children born or adopted at a later date cannot be covered under RCSBP.

This type of coverage guarantees dependent childr(ren) 55% of your retirement pay or the amount you designate as your base amount of coverage.  The designated base amount must be an even dollar amount between $300 and your full retirement pay.

You can view the RCSBP Cost factors for children beneficiaries only by clicking here.

Insurable interest

This type of coverage can be elected if you are unmarried and have no dependent children.  An insurable interest person is one who has a basis to expect financial benefit or advantage from the continuance of your life. 

If you are unmarried and have only one dependent child (who is eligible for ‘child only’ coverage), you may elect coverage for this child as an insurable interest beneficiary.

If you designate a person who is not more closely related than a cousin, a notarized statement indicating that the person has a logical and lawful reason to expect financial benefit from your continued life, is required.

Insurable interest coverage is more expensive than other coverage and you are not required to make an insurable interest election.

Only one person may be designated as an insurable interest beneficiary.  If the insurable interest beneficiary predeceases you, deductions from your retirement pay will be permanently terminated.  Additional beneficiaries may not be chosen for insurable interest coverage after the loss of your original insurable interest beneficiary.

If you elect insurable interest coverage, the option may be changed to cover a newly acquired spouse and/or child; however, this must be done within one year of marriage or acquiring a child.

A survivor annuity payable to an insurable interest beneficiary will be 55% of your net retirement pay remaining after the reduction of the cost for participation in the plan.  The monthly survivor annuity is payable to that person for life.

Insurable interest coverage must be based on your full amount of retirement pay.

This is an expensive option because the cost for such coverage is 10% of your full gross retirement pay plus an additional 5% for each full five years the beneficiary is younger than you.  The total cost for this coverage may not exceed 40% of your gross monthly retirement pay.

You are allowed to terminate participation in this type of coverage at any time; however, at age 60 you will be expected to pay for this past coverage for an insurable interest beneficiary.  If you terminate this type of coverage before age 60, the premium will be pro-rated according to the number of months you had the coverage in relation to the number of months you would have had this coverage if you did not terminate before age 60.  If you wish to terminate this type of coverage, please call our toll-free number 866-827-5672 to request the forms.

You can view the RCSBP cost factors for insurable interest beneficiaries only by clicking here.

Former spouse and former spouse/children

If you have a former spouse, you may designate your former spouse or your former spouse and child(ren) as beneficiary(ies) during your 90-day enrollment period in the plan if the child(ren) resulted from your marriage to that former spouse.  (Children of other marriages may not be included.)

Costs and survivor payments under this type of coverage are identical to those for spouse or spouse and child coverage.

If you are currently married and elect coverage for your former spouse during your 90-day enrollment period, your current spouse will be notified as required by law.

If you participate in RCSBP with either spouse or spouse and child(ren) coverage, and later divorce, you can elect to change to former spouse coverage.  The election change must be made in writing and submitted to NPC PERS-912 at the above address within one year following the divorce.

If you are required by the court to provide coverage for your former spouse as part of the divorce decree settlement and fail to honor such agreement, then your former spouse may make an election in your behalf.  It must be done within one year of the divorce and certain restrictions apply.

If you make a former spouse election and later acquire a spouse, the former spouse coverage can be changed to cover the new spouse under the following conditions:

1.  If former spouse coverage was elected with a written agreement, you are free to change the election to spouse coverage within one year of remarriage.

2.  If former spouse coverage was made to comply with a court order, you may change the election to spouse coverage for a subsequent spouse within one year of remarrying, but only if you obtain a court order that relieves you of the requirement to maintain your former spouse as the beneficiary.

You can view the RCSBP cost factor chart for spouse/former spouse/ or spouse/child beneficiaries only by clicking here.

Survivor coverage for a former spouse is not automatic

It is important to understand that spouse coverage does not automatically convert to former spouse coverage upon divorce.  A court order cannot, by itself, be used to institute RCSBP coverage.  A signed election certificate (DD Form 2656-10) must be submitted by the service member, or in some cases, the former spouse, before coverage can be established.  An RCSBP participant has one year from the date of divorce to change an election from spouse coverage to former spouse coverage.

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Last Modified: 6/22/2012 3:58 PM
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