This blog post has one purpose: to point you to every website with the Survivor Benefit Plan resources. It might be very long, with a lot of links, but I will do my best to organize this content in a way that makes sense. Let’s begin!
Survivor Benefit Plan Resources: DFAS
I’ll start with the DFAS website. It’s confusing, and you might not be able to put everything together just by looking at it. However, the DFAS website should be your first stop so that you can familiarize you with SBP. There’s also an SBP guide book (click to download) that you can download from the DFAS website.
Survivor Benefit Plan Resources: DoD & Service Instruction Links
While DFAS manages SBP, there is a DOD policy which helps to establish the rules. Additionally, each service has its own SBP instruction.
- DOD Instruction 1332.42: Survivor Annuity Program Administration: (pdf download).
- Army: AR 600-8-7-Retirement Services Program: (pdf download).
- Navy: OPNAV Instruction 1750.5A-Survivor Benefit Plan Program: (pdf download).
- Air Force: AFI 36-3006-Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and Supplemental Survivor Benefit Plan (SSBP): (pdf download).
- Marines: Marine Corps Order 1741.11D-Survivor Annuity Program – Survivor Benefit Plans (SBP): (pdf download).
If you can’t find what you need from the DFAS or the service websites, below are some books, blogs, and online calculators that can help you put together a plan for your SBP benefits.
Survivor Benefit Plan Resources: Books
There aren’t a whole lot in the way of books about SBP. That’s one of the reasons that I decided to write one myself. Below are some details on my book as well as a few of the books that I’ve found on Amazon:
Military in Transition’s Guide to the Survivor Benefit Plan. What can I say? This is a shameless plug for my book, but I did write a book because I did not think there were enough resources out there. I think the best thing about this book is that it brings a personal touch to one of the toughest, and most lasting decisions that a military family has to make upon retiring from service. I hope you enjoy it, but if you choose to skip it, below is my ‘competition.’
Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) (Active, Guard, Reserve, and Retired). This publication is published by the US Air Force ePublishing Library. The rest of the Amazon description seems to be a boiler plate description of the ePublishing Library, so I’ll fill in the gaps with what I know (not that much). I don’t know much about this book, but the Air Force has published a lot of ebooks, and this book might be all right. However, my first impression from Amazon is that this book isn’t going to be much more beneficial than going to the SBP website. Any book description that is actually a 2-paragraph advertisement for the Air Force’s publishing office is probably not going to bode well for the book.
Well, that’s it for books. I know there are books that contain SBP as a part of a broader, overall list of veterans’ and retirement benefits, but these are the books that I have found that focus primarily on SBP. If there is a book that you feel does cover SBP to a greater extent than one of these books, please feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll update this post accordingly.
Survivor Benefit Plan Resources: Blog Posts
There are several military finance blogs out there that discuss SBP, but not many. The following websites not only have information on the Survivor Benefit Plan, but also a wealth of additional information about military and veterans benefits, and financial topics as they relate to military members and their families. Each of these articles stands on its own, and provides several different viewpoints on the SBP decision.
KateHorrell.com – Kate is a military spouse who writes about a variety of personal finance topics as they pertain to military members and their families.
Military Money Manual – This site is run by an active duty Air Force officer who is focused on early retirement and related topics.
Paycheck Chronicles – This site is part of Military.com, but is also written by Kate Horrell, does a great job of putting out updates on issues as they come out. Stay tuned to this site to keep apprised of issues such as, SBP-Dependency & Indemnity Compensation Offset, open seasons, and more!
The Military Guide – There are several articles written by Doug Nordman about SBP, which cover SBP for both active and reserve components.
- Why You Should Strongly Consider Not Participating in the Survivor Benefit Plan
- 5 Factors You Should Consider When Evaluating the Survivor Benefit Plan
The Military Wallet – Ryan Guina has written military personal finance articles for almost a decade, and has several articles which focus on survivor plans for reserve and guard members.
- Understanding the Survivor Benefit Plan – a detailed article and podcast on the Survivor Benefit Plan.
- Term Life Insurance Vs. Survivor Benefit Plan: A Side By Side Comparison
Understanding the Survivor Benefit Plan This is a neat article that I found on page 3 of Google search results. It’s written by a Tampa divorce attorney (or so the name “Tampa Military Divorce Attorneys” would suggest), and briefly discusses the impacts of divorce upon SBP eligibility. Worthwhile read if this is something you might be looking at.
Survivor Benefit Plan Calculators
There aren’t a whole lot in the way of online calculators to help you compare SBP to alternatives. However, there are two that stand out:
OSD Actuary: This is the Defense Department’s online resource, based upon actuarial data. It’s updated every year, and allows an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison for SBP vs. term life insurance. Once you input your information, the calculator (actually an Excel spreadsheet) will give you a recommendation, based upon your situation.
Once you go to the website, you’ll see a Survivor Benefit Plan tab in the upper right corner. To get to the calculator, hover over that tab. You’ll see”
You’ll want to select the Insurance button. This will open up the SBP/Insurance recommendation calculator.
Navy Mutual Aid Association: While this calculator doesn’t provide the side-by-side comparison that I liked about the OSD Actuary site, it does allow you to project different scenarios to see what your payout would be. It might not be for people who just want a clear recommendation, but many people tell me that they’ve used it to great satisfaction.
As I mentioned, this is not meant to be the end-all, be-all list for Survivor Benefit Plan resources. But it should be a great reference to get you started.