Retired military medical offered for new wife, other benefits…well, maybe

Q: I am divorced, 61-years-old and receiv­ing retired mil­i­tary pay. If I remarry, will my new spouse be eli­gi­ble for the sur­vivor ben­e­fit plan and TRICARE?

 –Louis, Sara­sota, Fla.

A: When it comes to mil­i­tary ben­e­fits your new spouse should con­sider you a real catch! She will be eli­gi­ble for med­ical ben­e­fits. You sim­ply have to get her reg­is­tered in the Defense Enroll­ment Eli­gi­bil­ity Report­ing Sys­tem (DEERS). For most, access to this health plan is a big deal! 

While the TRICARE ques­tion is pretty clear cut, your new spouse’s eli­gi­bil­ity for the Sur­vivor Ben­e­fit Plan (SBP) depends on what you orig­i­nally elected when you retired and what hap­pened dur­ing the divorce. Here is a good link to the Defense Finance & Account­ing Ser­vice with answers to a host of SBP ques­tions, but I’ll sum­ma­rize a few sce­nar­ios below.

First, if you were mar­ried and did not elect SBP when you retired, your new spouse will not be eli­gi­ble for the coverage. 

 If you did elect SBP and the divorce decree did not man­date that your ex con­tinue to be cov­ered, then  your SBP cov­er­age was sus­pended and your new spouse will auto­mat­i­cally be cov­ered on the first anniver­sary of the marriage—you just have to pro­vide DFAS with her per­sonal data to update their records.  Upon remar­riage, you can also opt to increase your cov­er­age or ter­mi­nate it.

 All of this may seem con­fus­ing, but when it comes to SBP, I would con­tact DFAS to deter­mine your options given your spe­cific sit­u­a­tion.  Good luck!

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9 responses to “Retired military medical offered for new wife, other benefits…well, maybe”

  1. My hus­band and I are seper­ated (not legally) I live in Florida he in Geor­gia do I qual­ify for any Insur­ance ben­e­fits We were mar­ried before for 3 years then divorced and remar­ried seper­ated after 3 months but not divorced.

  2. First, you must enroll in DEERS (Defense Enroll­ment Eli­gi­bil­ity Report­ing Sys­tem), then it may take up to 30 days or so to be cov­ered by TRICARE. Here is their web­site where you can get the scoop: http://​www​.tri​care​.mil/​c​o​n​t​a​c​t​us/

  3. I have been mar­ried to active duty air force man for 10 years. We are now divorc­ing. Nego­ti­a­tions include me sign­ing over pen­sion, if I can keep the Pot 911 GIBILL ben­e­fits he signed over to me ( i am a full­time stu­dent), I should be done with school in 1 year. The VA line said that I have to remain on the DEERS list as a depen­dant to do this. Is there any­way that can hap­pen if we are no longer married?

    1. Kelsey — I would call the VA again. I found this state­ment on a Dod web­site, but am not exactly sure of the impli­ca­tions for you as it says the indi­vid­ual retains the right to revoke or mod­ify the trans­fer…: “A sub­se­quent divorce will not affect the transferee’s eli­gi­bil­ity to receive edu­ca­tional ben­e­fits; how­ever, after an indi­vid­ual has des­ig­nated a spouse as a trans­feree under this sec­tion, the eli­gi­ble indi­vid­ual retains the right to revoke or mod­ify the trans­fer at any time. ” If what he says is true, my advice would be for you to pay the last year of tuition and fees and instead take part of the pen­sion — it is valu­able mon­e­tar­ily in the long run.

  4. What per­cent­age of the pen­sion does a mil­i­tary spouse receive?

  5. June–I am the new wife of a mil­i­tary retiree, and am enrolled in TRICARE. My ques­tion is, if my hus­band dies before me, will our daugh­ter and/or I lose our health ben­e­fits, or are they for life? (We already know we will not receive SBP b/c he did not select this option for his wife at the time.) Thanks for any infor­ma­tion you can provide.

  6. Mil­i­tary retiree, had to move to care for elderly fam­ily mem­bers. Bought new home dur­ing times when houses were so expen­sive. Now, at age 84, I can­not
    locate any mort­gage life insur­ance com­pany that will cover me. Are we up the creek?

    1. I am an 81 year old com­bat dis­abled vet, 1oo% unem­ploy­able . I have va. med­ical care. Does my wife have any va avail­able care through my va cov­er­age.?? I would appri­ci­ate any info. Thank you

  7. My wife is deceased. She was cov­ered under SBP. I am retired. If I was to remarry what ben­e­fits would my new wife have? There is some­thing about a year of mar­riage before med­ical and SBP will apply. Whats that all about?

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