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News > Survivor Benefit Plan a retirement plan option
Survivor Benefit Plan a retirement plan option

Posted 6/14/2010   Updated 6/14/2010 Email story   Print story


by Judith Trabucco
Airman and Family Readiness Center

6/14/2010 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- For those who are getting ready to take the step into rejoining the civilian world after serving faithfully for 20 years, the thought of taking that step may be nerve wracking.

It's almost unavoidable, unless one already has a civilian job lined up or a winning lottery ticket. However, there is a way to lessen pre-retirement stress: have a solid financial plan, one which may include the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) along with savings, investments and insurance.

The SBP has much to offer. Retiree pay stops upon the death of a retired Airman, but with SBP one may guarantee that a monthly income continues. SBP annuity also increases with cost of living adjustments. Military members and, if married, their spouses are required to be counseled on SBP as part of their retirement briefings.

Since it's a matter affecting the entire family, the spouse must concur in the election if the member decides to cancel the protection while on active duty. It should also be noted that Airmen who refuse SBP, or who take less than full coverage, may not have another opportunity to enroll or increase coverage. Open enrollment periods are at the discretion of Congress, and there have only been five since the plan started in 1972.

In the past, once retiring Airmen enrolled in the program, they were, more or less, locked in for life. They could only get out in the event of a divorce or the death of their spouse. However, members now have a one-year opportunity between the second and third anniversary following the start of retired pay to terminate SBP participation, but the spouse must also concur.

For more information regarding retirement and the SBP program contact the SBP counselor, Judith Trabucco, at (781) 377-3346.

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