When a service member starts receiving military retirement benefits, the person serving in the military will be automatically enrolled in an insurance program known as the Survivor Benefit Plan. The insurance premium is automatically deducted from the retirement check and can be set up to pay retirement benefits to a surviving spouse or minor children.
A service member must have written permission from his or her spouse to not participate in the Survivor Benefit Plan program.
If the survivor benefits insurance is being paid, a surviving spouse, or minor children can continue to receive a portion of the pension. If the insurance was not purchased, the pension stops upon the death of the person entitled to a military pension.
Fact: Veterans pensions
Veterans who meet certain net worth and income rules may be eligible for a veteran’s pension. In some cases, surviving spouses may also be eligible for a VA pension. Find out more if you or your spouse served at least 90 days in one of the following:
1. World War II: December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946
2. Korean War: June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955
3. Vietnam War: August 5, 1964 (February 28, 1961 for veterans who served “in country” before August 5, 1964) through May 7, 1975
4. Gulf War: August 2, 1990 through a date to be set by law or presidential proclamation