Survivor Benefit Program Update
About the Author

Ostrom retired from the Air Force in 2000 after serving in a variety of personnel, education and training, and executive officer assignments. His assignments included tours in North Dakota, Florida, Korea, Australia, and the Pentagon. His final assignment was on the Joint Staff, writing and championing legislation related to joint officer personnel management issues. He earned numerous decorations and awards over his Air Force career.

After Air Force retirement, Ostrom was a practicing investment advisor at a large investment firm and a bank. He specialized in working with clients developing, implementing, and managing investment plans and portfolios.

A native of San Antonio, he earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts and is a graduate of the Royal Australian Air Command and Staff College and the U.S. Air Command and Staff College.

Ostrom joined the MOAA staff in 2006. His responsibilities include researching and writing articles and answering member inquiries regarding military benefits, health care, survivor issues, and financial concerns. He also travels extensively to discuss these matters with servicemembers and retirees and their families.

Beneficiary Change Open Season Now Open to change a deceased Former Spouse SBP beneficiary to a Current Spouse beneficiary.  

DFAS has announced a window of opportunity to change your SBP beneficiary from a deceased former spouse to a current spouse. Here are the specifics for open season eligibility. All these points must apply to your situation.  

  • Deceased former spouse passed away before 25 November 2015.
  • Remarried to current spouse on or before 25 November 2015.
  • Must be currently married.
  • Former spouse coverage must have been cancelled due to death. No other reason for discontinued former spouse coverage is eligible.   

DFAS has identified retirees and notified by mail those they believe meet these eligibility standards.  

If you are eligible but did not get a DFAS letter, take action to notify DFAS yourself. Call, write or fax DFAS to let them know you meet the eligibility criteria.  

Defense Finance and Accounting Service

U.S. Military Retired Pay

P.O. Box 7130

London, KY 40742-7130  

Phone: (800) 321-1080 or (216) 522-5955

Fax: (800) 469-6559  

Once DFAS receives your information, they will mail a package of information for you to apply for the beneficiary change.  

An audit will be completed and all costs to include possible retroactive premiums will be calculated and explained in a follow on letter. A “final election form” will be included with your letter explaining the costs. If you want to continue with the beneficiary change and agree with the costs, mail the form back to DFAS prior to 24 November 2016.  

All back premiums can be paid either in a lump-sum or over a period of no more than 24 months.  

Your choice is irrevocable. Coverage amount will be the same level as your former spouse—no other coverage option.  

SBP coverage with the current spouse is effective:  

  • The month after the first-year anniversary of the remarriage if the remarriage occurred after the former spouse’s death OR
  • The month after the death of the former spouse if the remarriage was already past the first-year anniversary at the time of death.  

The open season closes 24 November 2016.  

For more info:

Watch MOAA expert Lt. Col. Shane Ostrom, USAF (Ret) break it down:

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