The Survivor Support and Entitlements (SS&E) Branch is responsible for the oversight and administration of various casualty assistance related programs; one of which is the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) Program.
The SBP annuity is a taxable monthly payment made by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service-Cleveland Center (DFAS-CL) to eligible beneficiaries of deceased military retirees, active duty servicemembers, and certain reserve component servicemembers.
Protection under the SBP is not automatic; as military retirees are required to elect coverage "prior" to retirement and pay monthly premiums. Death of an active duty member, and certain reserve component servicemembers, are qualified for coverage if they are found in the line of duty; excluding those who are otherwise retirement elegible.
The annuity paid to a surviving spouse or eligible child is 55 percent of the base amount elected by a retiree, or the projected retired pay on the date of death of active duty or eligible reserve component servicemember.
Surviving spouses of active duty and certain reserve component servicemembers may, after counsel with an SBP representative, be enrolled by the Secretary of the Navy under "child only SBP coverage" if such coverage is in the best interest of their families. To aid surviving spouse in this area, the Armed Forces Services Corporation offers access to an Onlilne Survivor Benefit Report which provides a real-time integrated projection of their current and future benefits and entitlements. The SS&E branch works directly with the assigned Casualty Assistance Calls Officer (CACO) in these cases to establish child only SBP coverage.
SBP annuities payable to surviving spouses are reduced dollar for dollar, by the amount of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) they receive from the Department of Veterans Administration (VA). DIC payable on behalf of minor children is not subject to reduction. For more information about DIC and other VA benefits visit: https://www.va.gov.
In active duty and certain reserve component death cases, an assigned CACO will assist eligible beneficiaries to meet with their local VA and Social Security Administration representative who will assist in the completion and filing of required claim forms.
The SS&E Branch assist retired Sailors with their SBP coverage via the administrative error correction process along with advisory opinions to the Board for Correction of Naval Records (BCNR).
SBP Tools: To assist retiring Sailors in making an informed decision regarding participation in the SBP program, visit one or both of the following websites for up to date information:
SBP FACTS - http://militarypay.defense.gov/Benefits/Survivor-Benefit-Program
DOD Office of the Actuary - http://actuary.defense.gov
The SS&E Branch may be contacted regarding SBP and DIC Matters:
Monday thru Friday
0730-1600 Central Time
TOLL FREE: 1-877-270-2162