Prior to making the Survivor Benefit Plan election you will need to establish the trust account at CCT, have the CCT trust Tax Identification Number, and the Special Needs Trust Certification form provided by CCT.
Your election of Survivor Benefit Plan benefits prior to retirement is processed by your Service and once approved is irrevocable.
To be eligible to elect the option to cover the special needs trust under the Survivor Benefit Plan, the retiree must have previously elected Spouse and Child or Child Only coverage for a disabled child under the Survivor Benefit Plan. There must also be an established and certified special needs trust. If the service member is alive and if they have previously elected Spouse and Child or Child Only coverage under the Survivor Benefit Plan, they may make the designation to direct payment on the behalf of a beneficiary to a special needs trust at any time.
After the death of a member or retiree, if the service member or retiree had elected Spouse and Child or Child Only coverage under the Survivor Benefit Plan, any surviving parent, grandparent or court appointed legal guardian may make the designation on the behalf of a beneficiary.
Required Documentation by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS):
1. A written statement of the decision to have the annuity paid to the special needs trust that includes the dependent child’s name and the trust’s Tax Identification Number (provided by your Service or this standard form)
2. Attorney’s Special Needs Trust Certification (To view a copy of the Special Needs Trust Certification that CCT uses, click here.)
3. Name and Tax Identification Number for the trust by or before the time your beneficiary applies for their annuity
Submit certified Special Needs Trust paperwork to the following Defense Finance and Accounting Service address:
Defense Finance and Accounting Service
U.S. Military Retired Pay
P.O. Box 7130
London, KY 40742-7130
In the event that DFAS is not able to make the change in Survivor Benefit Plan election (for example if the retiree did not originally elect Spouse and Child or Child Only coverage) you can apply to your Service’s Board for Correction of Military Records for relief. This process is initiated by submission of a DD Form 149 to the Service Board (family members can do this for deceased military members). Along with DD Form 149, you will need the correct name for your child’s trust (to be used as the beneficiary designation) as well as the trust’s Tax Identification Number. Finally, you will need a letter from an attorney attesting that the special needs trust meets the requirements to be the beneficiary of your Survivor Benefit Plan annuity. To view a copy of the Special Needs Trust Certification that CCT uses, click here.
For those with a child already receiving a Survivor Benefit Plan annuity, these steps should immediately allow the child to regain eligibility for SSI/Medicaid. For those, who have designated their child as a Survivor Benefit Plan beneficiary, these steps will prevent loss of SSI/Medicaid benefits. For those who chose not to designate their child as a Survivor Benefit Plan beneficiary, once the Board for Correction of Military Records approves your request to reinstate your child as a Survivor Benefit Plan beneficiary, DFAS will require you to pay back Survivor Benefit Plan premiums (about $20/month) for all of the months since your retirement.