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Do Spouses Get Military Retirement Benefits

Military Id Cards And Other Benefits

What Benefits are Available to a Military Spouse After Divorce? | Austin Divorce Lawyer

Military ID cards cannot be ordered or decreed by a divorce court. Questions concerning eligibility should be directed to the nearest military ID card issuing facility. Generally former spouses are eligible if:

    • The marriage lasted 20 years or more, AND
    • The member served 20 years or more of service creditable for retired pay, AND
    • The marriage and the creditable service overlap 20 or more years. .
    • For additional information on the USFSPA, contact the nearest military legal assistance office.

For more information, view the USFSPA Trifold

Military Survivor Benefit Plans

Under the USFSPA, a military member can designate their former spouse as a beneficiary of an annuity under the military members survivor benefit plan. Courts have the authority to order a military retiree to designate their former spouse as the beneficiary, to pay the premiums, and participate in the annuity plan.

After divorce, annuity benefits to a former spouse will only continue if the military member makes a new election within one year of the judgment of dissolution.

In instances where the judgment requires the military member to make the election, if the former spouse files a written request with the military within the one-year period from the time of judgment, the election will be deemed to have been made.

Virginia Military Divorce: Highly Specialized Practice Area

If all of these conditions are not met, a spouse may still be awarded a portion of the military retirement pay under the terms of a divorce settlement agreement or a court-ordered property distribution however, the share would have to be provided to the spouse from the military member directly. Even if the military pension falls under the terms of the 10/10/10 provision, the precise terms of how the pension is paid out and divided will depend on factspecific considerations. In this regard, the services of experienced legal counsel are essential to help you assess options and ensure conformity with this highly specialized and regulated area.

A recent case from Portsmouth, Virginia, Epps v. Epps , reveals the complexity and highly specialized nature of issues involving distribution of military pension assets. The courts ruling also confirms the need for parties to a divorce to accurately document the terms of and circumstances giving rise to the military retirement benefits, as well as the marital and military service tenure involved.

In the Epps case, the husband appealed certain aspects of a final divorce decree related to equitable distribution of assets, including his former wifes military retirement. The Husband claimed that the trial court had failed to classify the wifes military retirement property as either separate or marital, in violation of the Virginia Code provision concerning property division when dissolution of a marriage occurs ).

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Dependency And Indemnity Compensation

This is a monthly payment to eligible survivors of a military member. The member must have :

  • died on active duty
  • died from a service-connected injury or disease
  • died from a non-service-connected injury or disease, and was obtaining, or entitled to obtain VA Repayment for a totally-disabling disability for
  • a minimum of 10 years before death, or
  • since release from active duty for a minimum of five years preceding death, or
  • for a minimum of one year before death as a former POW whose death was after Sep. 30, 1999.

The starting DIC amount for 2022 is $1,437.65. Depending on certain circumstances, there may be more pay added to the $1,437.65. For example, if the deceased military member has a child at school age, there is an extra $301.74, totaling $1,739.39.

Another example is if the surviving spouse is entitled to A& A, add $356.16. And add $166.85 if he or she is entitled to Housebound pay.

If the deceased military member did not have an eligible spouse but did have an eligible child, the rate per month would be $607.01. If he or she did have two eligible children, the rate would be $1,137.36.

Tricare For Divorced Spouses

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Tricare CHCBP is not exactly Tricare, but, rather, a much more expensive benefit, similar to COBRA benefits on civilian medical care. For a premium , the former spouse may continue Tricare coverage for three years.

Alternatively, if the divorced spouse has not remarried and is receiving a share of the military retirement or SBP, indefinite coverage is available. For more information, see the Military Health Benefits for Divorced Spouses article in the Military Divorce Guide. Because of the cost, this is probably not one of the more valuable of the military benefits for divorced spouses.

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We Take The Practice Of Military Divorce Seriously

Every attorney on our team is dedicated to staying abreast of changes in the law. We review new cases and statutes examine changes to federal, state, and local rules of court analyze judicial interpretations of state and federal legislation and study applicable military rules and regulations. We closely follow legal trends that could potentially impact our clients cases. In our law practice, we routinely examine the learned publications of our peers. In this, special recognition goes to North Carolina attorney Mark E. Sullivan, former Army JAG colonel and author of The Military Divorce Handbook, for his substantial contribution to this area of practice. If you are serving in or have served in the military and are facing divorce dont hesitate to contact one of or qualified military divorce attorneys today.

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Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan

The Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan is like SBP, with a few significant differences. Due to the unique nature of reserve service, there are a few differences in eligibility, options, and cost. Like SBP, it provides an inflation-protected annuity for your spouse or other eligible beneficiary.

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/20/20 Rule And Service Benefits

For a former spouse to get service benefits, the following must be true:

  • The spouse had been married for 20 years or more to the servicemember,
  • The servicemember served at least 20 years, and
  • The marriage and the military service overlapped by at least 20 years.

If so, a former spouse can remain eligible for TRICARE. Two things will disqualify a former spouse from TRICARE:

  • The former spouse is covered by an employer health plan
  • The former spouse remarries.
  • Once TRICARE is lost for these reasons, it is permanently lost.

    An ID card allows the former spouse access to bases, which grants them access to exchanges, commissaries, and MWR facilities.

    Minor Or Child With A Disability

    Do Military Spouses Get Education Benefits?

    If you are the unmarried child under age 18 of a worker who dies, you can be eligible to receive Social Security survivors benefits. You can also be eligible, if you are up to age 19 and attending elementary or secondary school full time.

    Besides the workers natural children, their stepchildren, grandchildren, step grandchildren, or adopted children may receive benefits under certain circumstances.

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    The Affordable Connectivity Program

    A surviving spouse or child entitled to the Death Pension is also eligible for the ACP.

    This program will offer up to $30 every month to the Internet provider so that you have a discounted Internet subscription.

    In addition, you will get a one-time discount of up to $100 for the expenses of a device that accesses the Internet. The device can be a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. But it cannot be a mobile phone, large phone, or phablet that enables mobile calls. Plus, its cost cannot exceed $150. A household can only have one device.

    • Note: You need to show eligibility via a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs or copies of ID docs.

    The Survivor Benefit Plan

    The SBP coverage includes a monthly payment, also called an annuity, paid to the surviving spouse lr or to the child of the deceased military member.

    • Note: If the deceased military member does not have a spouse or children, then the recipient can be an insurable interest like a parent or a business partner.

    The specific amount of SBP that is given to the recipient each month is a percentage of the deceased military members retired pay.

    It depends on whether the member chose a full or reduced coverage. SBPs can provide up to 55 percent of retired pay.

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    Eligibility For Death Pension

    A surviving spouse is eligible at any time until remarriage, whereas a surviving child is only eligible if he or she is:

    • less than 18 years old,
    • under the age of 23 and attending a school approved by the VA, or
    • had a injury or illness prior to age 18 that caused a permanent disability such that the child cannot support himself or herself.

    Fact checked by Brain Bartell

    It is well known that as the spouse of a military member on active duty or a Veteran, you are entitled to various benefits. But did you know that there are military death benefits for spouses as well?

    U.S military death benefits are available in a range of aspects, including health care, Internet access, and insurance, among others.

    Keep reading this article on military spouse benefits after death for the details. By the end, you should have a complete understanding of military survivor benefits!

    If you are a Veteran wishing to know what your spouse and/or children are entitled to in the worst case scenario, you will want to start with the answer to, What happens to my military retirement pay when I die? Well, the short answer is that it stops. That being said, the answer to, Does my spouse get military retirement after death? is also unfortunate: no.

    So, are your hands tied? Luckily, NO!

    There are after-death benefits that can support your spouse and/or children. Continue reading to get an idea of what they are.

    Military Retiree Survivor Checklist

    VA offers benefits to spouses, dependents, and survivors of ...

    The following checklist should be reviewed by military retirees and their beneficiaries on an annual basis. This checklist is designed to equip you and your loved ones with knowledge and information that may prove helpful. While it may be impossible to truly prepare for the overwhelming emotions and dilemmas that arise with the loss of a loved one, it does help when most of the below issues have been put into place.

    __ Create a military file that includes your retirement orders, separation papers, medical records, etc. Make sure your spouse knows the location and telephone number of the nearest military installation.

    __ Create a military retired pay file that includes the pertinent information for DFAS

    __ Create an annuities file. This file should have information about the Survivor Benefit Plan , Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan or the Retired Servicemans Family Protection Plan , Civil Service annuity, etc. Additional information regarding SBP annuity claims can be obtained from the DFAS-Cleveland office at 800-321-1080.

    __ Create a personal document file that has copies of marriage certificates, divorce decrees, adoptions and naturalization papers.

    __ Create an income tax file. Include copies of your state and federal income tax returns.

    __ Create a property tax file. Include copies of tax bills, deeds and any other related information.

    __ Create an insurance policy file. Include life, property, accident, liability and hospitalization policies.

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    Person With A Natural Insurable Interest

    If you dont have a spouse or kids you can elect SBP coverage for a person with a natural insurable interest in the member. This usually includes business partners.

    The Department of Defense defines a natural insurable interest as a natural person with an insurable interest who has a reasonable and lawful expectation of financial benefit from the continued life of the participating member, or any individual having a reasonable and lawful basis, founded upon the relation of parties to each other, either financial or of blood or affinity, to expect some benefit or advantage from the continuance of the life of the retired member. If the election is for a person who is more nearly related than a cousin, no proof of financial expectation is required.

    Discuss your situation with a licensed financial advisor.

    Dividing Military Retirement Benefits During Divorce In Virginia

    When it comes to divorce and division of property among former spouses, military families confront some unique issues. Particularly with respect to division of property such as military pension benefits, special procedures must be followed to divide such assets because provisions governing military retirement plans differ considerably from those of private employers.

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    Who Qualifies For Spousal Benefits

    To get spousal benefits, you need to be at least 62 or caring for your spouse’s child who’s younger than 16 or disabled. If you’re currently married, you need to have been married for at least a year. Your spouse must already be taking Social Security, as well.

    If you’re divorced, you’ll only be eligible if your marriage lasted at least 10 years and you’ve been divorced for a two-year minimum. You’ll also need to be unmarried to collect Social Security based on an ex’s work record. While your ex-spouse needs to be eligible for Social Security — meaning your ex-spouse needs to be at least 62 and have a minimum of 40 work credits — he or she doesn’t actually need to be collecting it in order for you to take spousal benefits.

    How Is Military Pension Divided In Divorce

    Can Your Spouse Claim Military Retirement Benefits in a Divorce? | Contested Military Divorce

    The law only allows division of disposable retired pay, which means the full military pension minus certain deductions. VA disability compensation is not a part of the military pension, and a court, therefore, cannot divide it between divorcing spouses as it could divide, for example, bank accounts and IRAs.

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    What Is The 10 10 Rule In Military Divorce

    Here is a brief description of the 10/10 rule: If the marriage lasted 10 years and the service member or former service member served at least 10 years in the military during that marriage, then the former spouse shall receive those pension benefits from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service .

    Health Care And Other Benefits

    If a retired service member served in the military for at least 20 years, a former spouse was married to the service member for at least 20 years, and the 20 years of marriage overlapped the military service by at least 20 years, the former spouse is entitled to full commissary, exchange and health care benefits. If the period of marriage overlapped by only 15 years, the ex-spouse is entitled to health care benefits for one year following the final divorce decree.


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    Military Medical Benefits After Divorce

    Health care is a hot issue, and after the military retirement itself, Tricare and 20/20/20 benefits are the most important available.

    Military medical benefits are not a divisible asset – a former spouse who meets the statutory requirements has the right to receive Tricare, regardless of what the court orders at the time of divorce. And the opposite is also true – if the federal government determines that the former spouse is not entitled to such benefits, nothing a state court orders can change that.

    Continued Health Care Benefit Program. After divorce, the former spouse is entitled to the Continued Health Care Benefit Program , which is the Tricare version of COBRA for three years. And as long as the spouse remains unmarried and was also awarded a share of the military retirement or SBP, the former spouse may remain on CHCBP for life. However, CHCBP is not cheap – in 2019 the program costs $1453/quarter for an individual, or $484/mo – it may well be cheaper to buy a health policy on the ACA health care exchange.

    20/20/20 Benefits. This is the real deal – if the parties were married for at least 20 years, the military member served 20 years, and there were at least 20 years of overlap, an unremarried former spouse is a 20/20/20 spouse, entitled to Tricare health just as if the parties were still married – i.e. its cheap!

    What If The Veterans Child Is Adopted

    Guide: Military Retirement During Divorce

    A child can also be the veterans adopted child, as shown by evidence that the veteran legally adopted the child before they turned 18. Proof of this would be a copy of the adoption decree or of the adoptive placement agreement.

    A child that is the biological child of the veterans spouse, former spouse, or surviving spouse may qualify for benefits as the veterans stepchild.

    The marital and biological relationship would have to be established, and the veteran must show that the child currently resides in the veterans household. If it is for DIC benefits, the surviving spouse must show that the child resided in the veterans household at the time of the veterans death.

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    Will Social Security Give Me Both Benefits

    No. Social Security doesn’t allow you to double dip. You’ll get whichever is higher: your own retirement benefit or a spousal benefit, but not both. Taking spousal benefits may result in a higher benefit if your spouse substantially outearned you. But if you were employed for most of your adult years, your own retirement benefit will probably be higher than your spousal benefit. Even if your own retirement benefit is modest, it’s likely higher than 50% of your spouse’s benefit. That’s why only about 3% of Social Security beneficiaries receive spousal benefits.

    Whether you’re expecting to receive your own Social Security or spousal benefits, consider creating a my Social Security account to estimate what your future benefits will be. If your checks will fall short, you may need to invest more, work longer so you can qualify for more money on your own record, and delay benefits for as long as possible.


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