Survivor benefit often overlooked

By Tom Philpott: CNJ columnist

The value of the military Survivor Benefit Plan has climbed sharply over the last three years as a steep drop in SBP annuities, which had hit surviving spouses at age 62, was phased down and then eliminated last April.

SBP participation for newly minted retirees, however, has risen only modestly. The sign-up rates raise concerns that too many careerists, particularly sailors and Marines, aren’t briefed well on the bargain SBP represents for protecting spouses, dependent children or even ex-spouses from financial hardship after retirees die.