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Process Change for Student Survivor Benefit Plan

Military Survivor Benefits for Students

Process Change for Student Survivor Benefit Plan

The Department of Defense announced an updated process for child beneficiaries of the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) when verifying that they are a full-time student.

The SBP annuity is paid to the dependents of fallen service members or deceased military retirees. Payments usually stop when the dependent reaches the age of 18. However, payments can continue to the age of 22 as long as they attend an accredited trade school, technical institute, college, or university at a full-time status. In the past, students were required to complete a form at the start of every semester or provide a transcript to the Defense Finance Accounting Service (DFAS) to receive payments.  If the certification is not received, all payments were suspended until DFAS received a properly completed form. According to the Pentagon, this process can be “frustrating for busy college students.” The process has been made even more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic since schools were required to be closed.

In response to this dilemma, the DD Form 2788, “Child’s Annuitant’s School Certification” has been created. This is a self-certification form that no longer requires a school official signature or documentation from the school. The form only needs to be completed once a year instead of every term or semester. Students will also sign and return a short previous attendance certification letter to confirm their past full-time attendance. In the future, the Child’s Annuitant’s Certification they receive in the mail will be prefilled with the information they provided previously with on the DD 2788 form, so they can simply confirm and sign. This form is shorter and easier consisting of only two pages that need to be filled out, making the process less confusing.

DFAS has created an online tool where you can upload a school certification such as the DD Form 2788. DFAS will also send reminders when the form is due if the student submits their email address through myPay.

To find out more information about this new process, please visit the DFAS website.

DFAS website:


DD 2788 Form:


DFAS online tool for certification:



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