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Immediate Release

Survivor Benefit Plan Student Certification Process

May 6, 2020

Today, the Department of Defense announced a streamlined process for child beneficiaries of the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) to certify that they are full-time students.  The SBP annuity paid to the children of fallen Service members and deceased military retirees typically ends when a recipient turns 18, but may continue to age 22 as long as the child is attending school full-time – in high school, or at an accredited trade school, technical or vocational institute, college or university.  The law requires that when a child turns 18 he or she certify their attendance in a full-time course of study, a process that can often be frustrating for busy college students.  This has been particularly challenging during the current COVID-19 crisis when school campuses are closed while school continues remotely.  This updated form and streamlined process will improve the timeliness and efficiency of this important program and ensure these survivors continue receiving this valuable benefit.

DD Form 2788, “Child Annuitant’s School Certification,” is now a self-certification form allowing children to quickly confirm current or past school attendance without the need to obtain signatures from school officials or provide transcripts to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).  The self-certification will now be required once a year, relieving students from having to submit a new form each semester.  This new form, which can be accessed here, makes the following changes:

  • College students will now certify annually instead of each semester.
  • Students will no longer need to obtain a school official signature or documentation from the school to verify this attendance; they only need to sign and self-certify they are attending full-time based on the requirements of their program.
  • The form is shorter and simpler, focusing on the student’s future schooling plans.
  • Students can upload the completed form online on the DFAS website, which is mobile-friendly. The online submission portal is here
  • If student submits an email address in myPay, DFAS will send an email reminder each year when a school certification form is due.

Forms submitted previously do not require any changes.  SBP recipients can find out more about the new process here