Would you like to decline SBP coverage of your future retired pay? You aren't alone. Many retirees decide to sign up for the government-recommended financial programs without understanding the full Survivor Benefit Plan Costs. US VetWealth has a better solution I'll discuss at the end of this article. First, let's take a look at the concerns for the average military retiree.
Does a Surviving Spouse Get Retired Pay After Death?
Most life insurance policies pay out a lump sum to an eligible beneficiary. If you elect SBP coverage it provides surviving spouses with a monthly payment of 55% of the retiree's military retirement after their death. These payments continue until the survivor either passes away or is no longer eligible to receive the payments.
The SBP was designed to provide basic financial support when an active duty service member or retired veteran predeceases their spouse. The cost of SBP is the same for everyone—6.5% of the pension, deducted automatically from their retirement pay. The SBP beneficiary receives payment only upon the death of the insured veteran.
Is the SBP Worth the Cost?
The government offers SBP benefits without qualification to retirees of any age, health, physical condition, life expectancy, etc. Here are some drawbacks.
- The Survivor Benefit Plan SBP cost is high. Yet, the likelihood that a retiree's spouse (or qualifying child) will ever receive any tangible return from it is low.
- If the spouse predeceases the service member, then all the funds paid into the plan are simply a loss from net retired pay.
- An SBP election only covers retired pay if the insured dies. There is no equity or return on investment while the insured retiree is alive.
- Children over the age of 21 cannot be beneficiaries. If the spouse dies after the retiree, if all children are over 21, child coverage stops.
- The SBP is complicated to manage during major life events like divorce, and there is a risk of losing the benefit.
- If theinsured military retireedoesn't die within the payment plan's 30-year term, then there is a significant opportunity cost. The loss can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- It takes much longer to start receiving SBP benefits than it does to receive payments for other life insurance products, a minimum of45 to 60 days to start receiving benefits.This assumes there are no problems handling the paperwork. Other life insurance products will send you a check for the full death benefit tax-free within a week or two.
How the Survivor Benefit Plan Cost Works
A retiree gets one chance to decide whether or not to decline SBP payments. He or she must decide at retirement, or within a year of a change in life circumstances, like remarriage or parenthood.
If the veteran has a spouse at retirement, then there is no choice. The spouse and children automatically receive full coverage (6.5% of the pension) unless the spouse declines or elects lower coverage. The decision as to whether or not to pay the SBP premiums rests SOLELY with the spouse. To decline, a spouse must opt out with a notarized signature.
There is no requirement to qualify during the underwriting process. This may seem like an advantage. But a plan that doesn't have qualification requirements isn't an advantage for someone in excellent health. Excellent health usually qualifies for a much lower premium rate in the private marketplace.
SBP coverage can provide a monthly check to help pay the bills if a service member or veteran dies prematurely. In the long run, however, the amount of money the beneficiary receives in that annuity is usually considerably less than what the monthly premium amounts could have generated as investments and insurance in the private marketplace.
SBP payments are going to some pot of money the government controls. They help to fund current surviving spouse payments. Your premiums do not become investments that fund YOUR spouse's SBP payments thirty years from now. How do you know there will be anything left when it's time for your spouse to receive payments?
How Many Years Do You Have to Pay for the Cost of SBP?
If you have sat through a military retirement SBP briefing then you have no doubt heard the argument that it takes 30 years to “pay up” SBP premiums. This means that there is a cap on premium payments, while the annuity payments continue as long as the spouse lives. Therefore, even a surviving spouse of a retiree who paid 30 years of Survivor Benefit Plan cost only needs to receive the annuity for just under 2.5 years to recoup the total amount spent on premiums.
What if the Spouse Pre-Deceases the Veteran?
What was paid into the SBP will be a complete loss should the spouse predecease the retiree. Annuity payments stop when the spouse dies. There is no opportunity for the amount of money the retiree and spouse have paid into the SBP to provide a legacy for their grown heirs.
SBP Coverage and VA Disability
A further matter for consideration is that there is no survivor payment on disability income. If the retiree's disability payment makes up a significant portion of the income that his or her family depends on, that income disappears when the retiree dies, regardless of whether or not the retiree elected the SBP.
The SBP Benefits: A Recap
Again, these plans are not beneficial. The government does not give these plans to service members and veterans. They sell them in the form of an SBP annuity.
Government insurance packages are financial solutions managed in the form of an IOU with no flexibility. The fact is, what these plans offer is not the best deal across the board for everyone. They are only the best deal for those who have no other options. If you already pay for insurance or plan to, doesn't it make financial sense to find the best plan that you can that will do the most for your family?
The New SBP Alternative: The Military Pension Protection System
The most significant advantage of our solution is that it provides you with considerably more equity growth and liquidity while you're still living. It ensures that your investments do not decline in value. You can use this strategy to save for retirement and leave a legacy after you pass away.
This new, modern approach to privatizing the costs of SBP coverage or pension protection has been available for a few years. Yet, few financial experts and professionals are aware of it or its game-changing advantages. The key differences are flexibility and control.
The SBP annuity offers neither. Once enrolled, the cost of the Survivor Benefit Plan does not change. You pay that monthly cost until you die. Everyone pays the same rate, regardless of their health and age. Assuming the veteran passes away first, the spouse receives a monthly annuity until their death. The amount received is only 55% of what the veteran was receiving. That's it. There's nothing beyond that. The veteran's service disappears from memory and there is no legacy.
Why the Military Pension Protection System is Better
A financial advisor would recommend basic term insurance as a better option to the Survivor Benefit Plan due to its much lower cost. But the problem there is much worse. A 20-year term means exactly that. You commit to a fixed program that only has an ROI if the insured dies early.
What's worse is the assumption that typically goes along with the purchase of term insurance. The idea is that over time, the veteran will “insure themselves” via asset growth, making the insurance eventually unnecessary anyway. To count on becoming self-insured by relying on the stock market is unrealistic. There are far too many variables likely to take place within the next 30 years.
For both the SBP and term insurance, the likelihood of sunken cost and no legacy protection is VERY real. Yet no one in the government, themilitary financial planningworld, or the expert blogging community are focusing on these problems. They don't recognize the potential of innovations occurring in the financial industry.
Instead, they keep guiding our community into traditional, more risky solutions like the SBP and term or whole life insurance. This dishonors the financial investment that veterans have made to provide a survivor benefit. It also dishonors the 20+ years of investment (sacrifice) that the veteran and their family gave to this country.
What's Your Service Worth To You?
We believe it is just plain wrong to accept that those 20 years of service won't be rewarded for a lifetime and beyond when in the modern age such a solution is both possible and accessible. That's why we have spent the better part of ten years researching the financial vehicles and creating your Military Pension Protection System. Our team members do not have quotas to fill. We offer these financial vehicles to our clients at substantially less cost than they would pay in “invest the rest” investment fees or for other whole life policies.
Below are some of the reasons why we believe our life insurance system is superior to other life insurance/pension protection vehicles on the market today.
1. Pay For Long-Term Care Costs.
Few people think about long-term care costs. But failure to plan for long-term care can quickly wipe out retirement funds. Not only are people living longer, they often require high-cost medical care that didn't exist just a few decades ago. Costs like assisted living won't be covered by the VA and Medicare.
The Military Pension Protection System offers a long-term care provision. It allows a living insured to use a portion of their death benefit to pay for assisted living costs. Those costs can also be paid to a close friend or family member. This provision is a game-changing solution. It can mitigate the risk of a veteran being forced to liquidate their hard-earned retirement funds to pay for health care costs before they can qualify for Medicare. With a Survivor Liberty Plan, the veteran can ensure their own self-care and still have a large probability of leaving a lasting legacy for his/her heirs.
2. Offer A Guaranteed Return On Your Investment
The SBP costs you up to 6.5% of your gross retired pay. This is a significant amount of money over twenty or thirty years. There is no ROI unless the insured dies. Even then, there is no inheritance available to the heirs.
The Military Pension Protection System, on the other hand, offers more equity. It also offers liquidity that the insured can access while they're still living. And unlike term insurance, the protection never ends. You may capture and lock in the growth of the market without having your policy's value harmed by market fluctuations thanks to our private pension insurance strategy. The worst-case scenario market rate of return in any circumstances is zero. You get to keep all of your market gains, but you don't experience market losses. During any downturns, you simply experience zero growth on your intact principal.
Furthermore, the benefit doesn't just get paid to the surviving spouse. Nor does your investment evaporate should the spouse predecease the retiree. Your Survivor Liberty Plan can be structured so that it gets paid to the next generation as a legacy.
3. You Avoid Opportunity Cost
There is an opportunity cost for not having the insurance plan's premiums liquid and invested. The SBP may never pay any annuity. And if it does, it will be less than what might have been generated had those premiums been invested over the long term.
4. You Don't Have To Start A Plan From Scratch
If you have already sunk money into an older whole life insurance policy, you can redirect that investment into the Military Pension Protection System. You can also redirect whatever other contributions you want to provide, using a mechanism called a 1035 exchange.
Moving these funds into a private pension account using the 1035 provision allows those returns to take effect much earlier. This amounts to taking money that you've already put to work for you and giving it a raise.
5. You Don't Have To Be In Perfect Health To Qualify
Some people worry that they won't qualify for the Military Pension Protection System for various reasons. Many cite their VA disability rating, tobacco use, active duty flight status, Special Forces, pre-existing health condition, etc.
This is simply not the case. Many retiring service members receive disability ratings from the VA for relatively minor issues and of no concern at all to life insurance underwriters. It is worth the time to go through the underwriting process to see whether or not your disability will prevent you from qualifying. With regards to other possible concerns, it is possible to obtain a policy within a variety of situations. When qualifying during the underwriting process, the insurance company determines how much of a death benefit to offer. They base the amount on the likelihood that they are going to have to pay out this death benefit.
Your physical condition or lifestyle may have an impact on the amount of death benefit you qualify for. However, this should not be a showstopper. In a term life insurance policy, the only advantage is the death benefit. The Military Pension Protection System is about much more than the death benefit for spouses of veterans. It's about having a place to protect and grow your money without exposure to the risk of market volatility or taxes.
That said, health qualification is an aspect of establishing a private pension account. If you think this might be a viable retired military financial solution for you, don't wait. The sooner you initiate the process, while younger and in good health, the easier the process will be.
6. You Don't Have To Have A Lot Of Money To Fund The Military Pension Protection System
The private pension account can be funded with as much or as little as you want to contribute. You can pay for it for as long or as short of a period as you like. You can customize your premiums/contributions and adjust them over time as your life circumstances change.
7. Litigation Risk Protection.
A permanent life insurance policy is not part of an estate tax bill or otherwise part of an individual's net worth. This means it can't be taken from you to pay for legal damages. If a lawsuit ends badly, other assets might be taken from you. But you will retain complete control over and access to your Survivor Liberty Plan.
8. Up To 90% Liquidity Of Your New Asset.
There is no liquidity in either the SBP or VGLI unless the insured dies. The same goes for Term and Whole life insurance. With a private pension account, there is liquidity for the retiree and the surviving spouse. Nobody has to die to be able to access up to 90% of it.
9. Create Tax-Free Retirement Income.
The greatest expense most Americans will ever face in their lifetime is taxes. More baby boomers are retiring and fewer millennials are working. Our national debt is rising. Our government will struggle to pay for unfunded liabilities like social security, Medicare, and Medicaid. We can expect much higher marginal tax rates within the next decade.
Wealthy Americans leveraged the tax advantages of whole life in the 1980s. Similarly, modern life insurance leverages IRS code 72(t) to provide the same advantages with greater flexibility and control. It allows you to access up to 90% of the equity tax-free.
Is The Military Pension Protection System Right For You?
As with every major life decision, every service member and the veteran should reflect on their situation (together with their spouses) to determine whether or not the SBP is the best fit for their financial situation. US VetWealth offers an alternative. It focuses on the service member's life rather than their death. It also properlyvalues the service member's militarycareer and the sacrifices made by their spouse and family.
None Of This Matters If You Don't Qualify.
If you're serious about considering this modern, privatized approach to your financial future, then reach out to us. Let us know that you are ready to go through the application and underwriting process. There is a risk to waiting. Something could pop up medically or you could be involved in some accident that might change your health circumstances.
The decision to decline SBP coverage of your future retired pay is a serious one that should not be taken lightly. However, with the right information and planning, it can be the best decision for you and your loved ones. US VetWealth offers a better solution than what is currently available from the government, and we hope you will consider giving us a call today to schedule a free consultation. We want to make sure you have all the information you need to make the best possible decision for your future.
What is the disadvantage of SBP? ›
SBP coverage is supplied at no cost while you are in active service. During your retirement, however, a monthly deduction is taken from your pay to pay for your SBP coverage. This can be as much as, but no more than, 6.5 percent of your gross retired pay.
The Survivor Benefit Plan SBP cost is high. Yet, the likelihood that a retiree's spouse (or qualifying child) will ever receive any tangible return from it is low. If the spouse predeceases the service member, then all the funds paid into the plan are simply a loss from net retired pay.Is SBP going away? ›
In 2022, SBP was reduced by no more than one-third of the amount of DIC received. In 2023, the SBP-DIC offset is eliminated in total, so that surviving spouses eligible for both programs receive both SBP and DIC in full, effective January 1 (starting with the February 1, 2023 payday).How much does sbp cost per month? ›
If you elect full coverage, the cost of SBP coverage will be based on your full gross pay. For example, if you receive $1,000 of retired pay each month, and elect full SBP coverage, your monthly cost to cover your spouse under the plan will be $65 each month.How serious is SBP? ›
SBP is a serious complication in patients with cirrhosis with high mortality rates (20–40%). Patients at risk of developing SBP can be categorised in three groups: (1) patients with active variceal bleeding; (2) patients with ascitic fluid protein <10 g/dl; and (3) those with a prior episode of SBP.What is the mortality rate of SBP? ›
Although SBP responds well to appropriate antibiotic treatment, in patients with underlying cirrhosis severe enough to develop SBP, long-term prognosis is poor. In-hospital non-infection-related mortality is 20–40% and 1- and 2-year mortality rates are 70% and 80%, respectively.What is the best alternative to survivor benefit plan? ›
However, if your beneficiaries should predecease you, there are no additional benefits for the premiums you have paid. If this is a significant issue for you, then one good alternative would be permanent life insurance, which can provide both protection and tax-deferred savings.Do SBP premiums go up? ›
Retired pay is increased annually to keep pace with inflation. Survivor payments are generally increased at the same time, by the same percentage. These increases are made even after the member dies.How much will my spouse get from SBP? ›
The maximum SBP annuity for a spouse is based on 55 percent of the member's retired pay (or in the case of a member who retires under REDUX, the retired pay the member would have received if under the high-three retirement system). However, a smaller amount may be elected.Is SBP going to increase in 2023? ›
Congress enacted changes to the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) that in 2023 will eliminate the offset (reduction) to SBP annuity payments for surviving spouses who are also receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
What are the changes to sbp in 2023? ›
The NDAA for Fiscal Year 2020 also directed that as of January 1, 2023, the “Optional Annuity for Dependent Children” will be eliminated and the SBP annuity payment must revert to the surviving spouse (if the surviving spouse submits documentation confirming eligibility).Will there be increase in survivor benefits for 2023? ›
Spouses who had their SBP offset by DIC received the Special Survivors Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) in 2022, up to the maximum amount of $346 per month, or up to gross amount of SBP (if the gross amount of SBP was less than $346). Beginning with the February 1, 2023 payment, no SSIA will be paid.Does SBP stop if spouse remarries? ›
Surviving spouses maintain their eligibility for SBP until death, as long as they do not remarry before the age of 55. If the annuitant remarries before age 55, annuity payments will stop.How much does the widow of a 100% disabled veteran receive? ›
If your partner dies with a 100% disability, you may qualify for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). This refers to tax-free monthly benefits sent to the surviving spouses of disabled veterans. Per VA, the base compensation you can receive in 2022 is $1,437.66 per month.Does SBP apply to VA disability? ›
SBP has provisions that specifically apply to disabled Retired Soldiers. SBP premiums are deducted from your mili- tary retired pay. If your VA disability com- pensation completely offsets your retired pay, there is no automatic deduction of your monthly SBP premiums.Do you need ascites for SBP? ›
The presence of SBP, which almost always occurs in patients with cirrhosis and ascites, is suspected because of suggestive signs and symptoms, such as fever, abdominal pain, or altered mental status (table 1), though some patients are asymptomatic and are detected when they undergo paracentesis after being admitted to ...What is a normal SBP? ›
The definition of normal BP (systolic blood pressure [SBP] < 140 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure [DBP] < 90 mmHg) was first proposed by the 3rd report of Joint National committee on Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure in 1984 (JNC III). 4.Who is at risk for SBP? ›
Patients who are at high risk for SBP include: Patients with gastrointestinal bleed and cirrhosis. Patients who already had SBP one or more times in the past. Cirrhotic patients with ascites in which ascitic fluid protein is < 1.5 g/dl along with renal failure (creatinine > 1.2 mg/dl).Does SBP cause ascites? ›
Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis is an infection of abdominal fluid, called ascites, that does not come from an obvious place within the abdomen, such as a hole in the intestines or a collection of pus. The condition typically affects people with liver disease, who often develop ascites as their disease worsens.Can survivors benefits run out? ›
These benefits are payable for life unless the spouse begins collecting a retirement benefit that is greater than the survivor benefit. Beneficiaries entitled to two types of Social Security payments receive the higher of the two amounts.
Should I elect a survivor benefit or not? ›
In most cases, a married couple will choose one of the survivor benefit options instead of the single life annuity. If, however, you have an adequate amount of other financial assets or your spouse also has a pension plan, it may make sense to consider the single life annuity option, or the lower 25% partial benefit.Can you get SBP and Social Security? ›
SBP is taxable. Receiving Social Security and/or a civil service/FERS annuity will not interfere with SBP, unless the servicemember waived a portion of his retired pay for a combined civil service annuity.What happens if you are married and declining SBP coverage? ›
Decline. If you do not consider SBP a worthwhile investment, you may elect not to participate. If you are married and decline to cover your spouse, you must obtain your spouse's notarized signature. In this case, no deductions will be taken from your pay and no benefits will be paid after your death.How do I get the $16728 Social Security bonus? ›
Who is eligible for Social Security bonus? For every year that you delay claiming past full retirement age, your monthly benefits will get an 8% “bonus.” That amounts to a whopping 24% if you wait to file until age 70.What is the minimum base amount for SBP? ›
The amount of the reduction depends upon the amount of retired pay covered or protected by the SBP. This amount is referred to as the member's base amount. The base amount can be any dollar amount between a minimum of $300 and full gross retired pay.Will survivor benefits go up? ›
If Johnson's COLA forecast of 8.7% proves accurate, here's what these average beneficiaries can expect come 2023: Average retired worker check: $1,825.66 (an extra $146.12 per month) Average disabled worker check: $1,488.25 (an extra $118.71 per month) Average survivor check: $1,449.98 (an extra $116.05 per month)What happens to my SBP if my spouse dies first? ›
Premiums continue as long as there is an eligible beneficiary. Costs are suspended if a spouse is lost to death or divorce. If a subsequent spouse is acquired, coverage resumes automatically at the first anniversary unless the retiree makes a written request to decline resumption before that date.Can a surviving spouse receive both SBP and DIC? ›
In 2022, SBP will be reduced by no more than one-third of the amount of DIC received. In 2023, the SBP-DIC offset will be eliminated in total, so that surviving spouses eligible for both programs will receive both SBP and DIC in full, effective January 1 (paid as of February 1).Will military retirees get a raise in 2023? ›
Disabled veterans and military retirees will see a nearly 9% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in their monthly benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2023, the most significant jump since 1981.How much will retired military pay increase in 2023? ›
2023 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)
Based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index, there will be an 8.7 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for most retired pay and Survivor Benefit Plan annuities effective Dec. 1, 2022. Retirees will see the change in their Dec.
When can I opt out of SBP? ›
Cancelling in the Third Year of Retirement
You are free to cancel or terminate your SBP election beginning in the 25th month through the 36th month - or the third year - of your retirement.
Benefits stop when your child reaches age 18 unless that child is a student or has a disability.Do survivor benefits decrease with income? ›
What if I work? If you work while getting Social Security survivors benefits and are younger than full retirement age, we may reduce your benefits if your earnings exceed certain limits.Do survivor benefits increase to age 70? ›
Survivor benefits, if collected at full retirement age or later, are worth 100% of the late worker's benefits, including any delayed retirement credits the worker may have accrued at time of death. But a surviving spouse cannot increase the amount of his or her survivor benefit by waiting until age 70 to collect it.What is the difference between survivor benefits and widow benefits? ›
Spousal benefits are capped at 50 percent of the worker's benefit. Survivor benefits are set at 100 percent of the deceased worker's benefit.What will 2023 VA disability rates be? ›
- $165.92 per month for 10% disability.
- $327.99 per month for 20% disability.
- $508.05 per month for 30% disability.
- $731.86 per month for 40% disability.
- $1,041.82 per month for 50% disability.
- $1,319.65 per month for 60% disability.
- $1,663.06 per month for 70% disability.
Survivors. What are veteran survivor benefits? As a veteran's surviving spouse, child or parent, you may qualify for certain benefits, such as help with burial costs and compensation or pension. You may also qualify for health care, life insurance, or financial assistance to help pay for school or training.How long do you pay SBP premiums? ›
A member who elected SBP and has paid premiums for 30 years (360 months), and who is at least 70 years of age, is considered "paid-up". Although SBP coverage continues, no further premiums are required.When my husband dies will I get his VA disability? ›
If you're the surviving spouse, child, or parent of a service member who died in the line of duty, or the survivor of a Veteran who died from a service-related injury or illness, you may be able to get a tax-free monetary benefit called VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC).How many days do you treat SBP? ›
For spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP), a 10- to 14-day course of antibiotics is recommended. Although not required, a repeat peritoneal fluid analysis is recommended to verify declining PMN counts and sterilization of ascitic fluid.
What is the treatment for SBP? ›
Patients with SBP should be started on empiric, broad-spectrum antibiotics immediately after peritoneal fluid is obtained. When culture results are available, antibiotic coverage can be tailored to cover the specific organisms identified.What happens in SBP? ›
The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) allows a retiree to ensure, after death, a continuous lifetime annuity for their dependents. The annuity which is based on a percentage of retired pay is called SBP and is paid to an eligible beneficiary. It pays your eligible survivors an inflation-adjusted monthly income.What is the most sensitive test for SBP? ›
Therefore, the diagnosis of SBP is confirmed based on a PMN count in the ascites of >250 cells/mm3 in the absence of an intra-abdominal and surgically treatable source of infection. The cutoff value of 250 PMN cells/mm3 has the greatest sensitivity, whereas 500 PMN cells/mm3 exhibits the greatest specificity [19–21].What score for SBP? ›
Patients with score of 0 are unlikely to have SBP, while we should start treatment once they have a score of 4 or 5. Ascitic sample testing and culture could be saved for patients with scores of 1, 2 or 3. Our results still need further work for validation in larger groups of patients.Does SBP cause diarrhea? ›
Severe pain and tenderness in the belly. Nausea and vomiting. Diarrhea. A fever.