Divorced Military Spouse Benefits Checklist
If I get a divorce, will I lose my military benefits? This is a common question among divorcing military spouses, concerned that theyll have nothing to show from the military after years of their own sacrifices during marriage. The Military Divorce Guide is a complete resource, with comprehensive articles explaining the details of divorced military spouse benefits, whats divisible in a divorce, and what a former military spouse may be legally entitled to after divorce.
But if you would like a quick cheat sheet of those benefits without making your head spin, our brand-new article, Explanation of Divorced Spouse Military Benefits, is for you. We go through each of the benefits which military spouses have come to rely on, and let you know whether they are available post-divorce. And as with this blog post, we have links after each of the benefits for a much more in-depth discussion of how the benefit works.
Heres the same information presented in a different way by length of marriage, instead of by type of benefit. So if your marriage was 10 years, you can quickly scan through the list below and see exactly which benefits are available to you, again with links to more complete discussions in the Guide articles.
Post 9/11 And Forever Gi Bill
For military members that have served and choose not to use their eligible Post 9/11 or Forever GI Bill, they may transfer it. Military members can choose to transfer all of or just part of their VA financial aid to their spouse.
For military personnel, the assistance they receive from these bills will be determined by the amount of time they have served. With a minimum of 10 years total of service, you can transfers up to 36 months worth of education benefits to their eligible spouse or dependant.
Activities At Your Fingertips
You wont be at a loss of what to do as a military wife.
There are always activities to take part in on base, and with the MWR , youll have plenty of opportunities for reasonably priced travel.
Youll also get discounts to pretty much every place imaginable as a military spouse.
One of the best ones is Disney.
My second mom and dad are retired military, and Ive gone with them twice to Disney where they can purchase a 4-day park hopper once a year for the price of a 2-day pass with their IDs .
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How Is Military Disability Compensation Treated
There are a couple different forms of disability compensation under different military regulations. Some forms of disability compensation impact the pension plan, and some do not.
Example 1: A service member may be eligible for disability pay but may not be eligible for a pension: Service Member was injured while service and only served 4 years-the Service Member is not eligible for a pension, but might be eligible for disability pay for life, depending on the type of injury.
Example 2: A service member may be eligible for disability pay and a pension and the disability pay may impact the pension: Service Member served 20 years and was injured and received a 20% disability rating from the VA. Under this scenario, the service member is required to waive dollar for dollar part of his/her pension plan, in order to receive the tax-free disability payments.
It is important to note for VA waivers, the VA has a rating system between 10 and 100 percent, but waivers are only required for ratings between 10%-40%. Once a service member hits a 50% rating and above, the service member receives what is called Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay which means the Service Member receives their full pension and full disability benefits-without a waiver being required.
Eligibility For Death Pension
A surviving spouse is eligible at any time until remarriage, whereas a surviving child is only eligible if he or she is:
- less than 18 years old,
- under the age of 23 and attending a school approved by the VA, or
- had a injury or illness prior to age 18 that caused a permanent disability such that the child cannot support himself or herself.
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Veterans Travel In London
You can apply to join the Veterans Concessionary Travel Scheme in London if you are:
- a veteran getting financial help under the War Pensions Scheme
- a veteran getting regular financial help under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
- a war widow or war widower getting financial help from the War Pensions or Armed Forces Compensation Schemes
Under the Veterans Concessionary Travel Scheme, you will be issued with an Oyster photocard. You can use this to travel free at any time within London on the bus, underground, Docklands Light Railway , tram and London overground services.
You can find out more information about this scheme by contacting Transport for London. Their contact details are:
Helpline: 0845 331 9872 Website: www.tfl.gov.uk.
As A Military Spouse You Get To Travel The World
Yes, the prospect of moving to a new city, state or country approximately every two years may sound daunting, but the upside is that when youre a military spouse, you get to see the world. The U.S. military has duty stations everywhere from Japan to Spain to Hawaii, giving you plenty of opportunities to see corners of the globe that some people only dream about.
If you get homesick on this military journey of yours, there is always the militarys home away from home that is, the USO. There are more than 250 USO locations across the U.S., Europe, Southwest Asia and Pacific regions, giving military spouses and their families a familiar and consistent place to turn to, no matter where their service takes them.
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Surviving Military Spouses Can Sometimes Receive Veterans Disability Compensation
Surviving military spouses can sometimes receive veterans disability compensation. This benefit is called Dependency and Indemnity Compensation , and it is paid on a monthly basis. DIC is available to a surviving military spouse and his or her dependent children. In some cases, a dependent parent may also be eligible for DIC.
Military Spouse Employment Partnership Program
The Military Spouse Employment Partnership provides employment resources for Family members through a corporate partnership initiative. Operated through Army Community Service centers in concert with the Employment Readiness Program , MSEP helps all Army Spouses: surviving Spouses, DoD Civilians, and Family members gain the competitive edge needed for employment by providing corporate and Federal partners willing to hire military personnel.
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How Long Do You Have To Be Married To A Military Man To Get His Benefits
But if you were married for at least 20 years and he has served for at least 20 of those same years, you will be able to get some benefits. Make sense? For those who meet the 20/20/20 military divorce rule, you will still be able to use the commissary, exchange and Tricare after your divorce is final.
Post 9/11 Bill Eligibility
For the Post 9/11 Bill, you must have completed 6 years of military service and then agree to another 4 years of service to make a total of 10 years. The person receiving the benefits must be first enrolled in DEERS, Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System.
Once enrolled and approved, a military spouse can receive up to 36 months of benefits that can be used for housing, tuition, and books or supplies.
For more information about the GI Bill, eligibility, and transferring it over to a spouse, you can visit the Veterans Affairs website.
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Keep Copies Of All Your Important Documents
In order to take advantage of many military spouse benefits, youll need documentation to prove who you are and that you are indeed married to a service member. These papers wont just help you take advantage of spouse programs, theyll also help you take care of important day-to-day tasks that your uniformed spouse may not be able to attend to as quickly .
Make sure to keep the original or copies of:
- Your marriage certificate
- Your spouses orders to your current duty station
- Your social security card that reflects any name changes .
- Your military identification card
Servicemembers Should Also Know About The 10/10 Rule And A 20/20/20 Rule What Are Those
Regarding the 10/10 rule: When a Service Member divorces or enters into a legal separation judgment, the former spouse must have at least 10 years of marriage overlapping with 10 years of military service, in order to be eligible to receive direct payments from the military as a property award from the family court.
It is important to note the 10 years runs not from date of marriage to date of separation, but from date of marriage to date of divorce. So if you are close to 10 years, the parties in a family law action might want to consider stretching out the final divorce date/legal separation date, in order to meet the 10/10 rule.
If the service member is active duty , the 10 years is 10 actual years of military service. If the service member is in the reserves , then the requirement is 10 good years of service. A good year of service is defined as a minimum of 50 drill points being earned for a reservist .
It is important to note that even though the military might not make direct payments to a former spouse who does not meet the 10/10 rule-that does not mean the military spouse does not owe the money. The property right still exists, whether or not the Military will facilitate direct payments and the Military member may be required to make payments directly for the property rights of the former spouse.
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Dependency And Indemnity Compensation Explained
The Dependency and Indemnity Compensation is a tax-free monetary benefit thats provided monthly. The DIC pays a different amount year over year, so youll need to check with the latest benefit information for an exact estimate. This compensation is typically around $1,100 per month.
The amount received as compensation increases per child if you have other dependents. DIC benefits are permanent for surviving spouses. It lasts the entire life of the surviving spouse except in the case of remarriage. For surviving children, DIC benefits last until the age of 18. If the child is still in school, these benefits might go until age 23.
DIC isnt available to every Veteran spouse, however. You need to meet the eligibility criteria established by the VA.
For the Veteran, youll need to prove one of the following:
- The Veteran died while on active duty or active duty for training
- The Veteran died from a service-connected illness or injury
- The Veteran was eligible for VA compensation due to a disability
Similarly, the spouse also needs to meet one of the following criteria:
- Were married to the service member or Veteran for a minimum of 1 year
Along with Veteran death benefits, this compensation is a helpful safety net for providing ongoing support to military families. Including these benefits in your end-of-life planning checklist is an effective way to ensure your spouse and surviving loved ones have the help they need when the time does come.
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What Is A Military Wife Entitled To In A Divorce
After divorce, the former spouse is entitled to the Continued Health Care Benefit Program , which is the Tricare version of COBRA for three years. And as long as the spouse remains unmarried and was also awarded a share of the military retirement or SBP, the former spouse may remain on CHCBP for life.
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Commissary Exchange Base Privileges
You will find many people on base in the same position as you, and they will become family. Base schools offer unique environments to military children in pre-school and elementary schools on many bases. The no tax and lower than average shopping experience at the grocery store and base stores are also helpful to the monthly budget. Social activities are also prevalent on base and in the surrounding area for the military family to help with the departure of a spouse on deployment.
First Make Sure You Can Access Your Benefits
To receive any military benefits, military family members must be registered in the military’s personnel system, the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System , and receive a military ID card. To do that you need to be the service member’s spouse or child.
Certain other family members can also receive ID cards in some circumstances.
Need to get an ID card? This tutorial will help you learn how.
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Sbp And Rcsbp Factors
Should the surviving spouse remarry before age 55, the annuity is paid in equal shares to eligible children under age 18, or under age 22 if a full-time student, unless handicapped. The coverage stops when there are no eligible children. A dependent child may be an adopted child, stepchild, grandchild, foster child, or recognized a natural child who lived with the member in a regular parent-child relationship. A child disabled before age 18, or before age 22 if a full-time student when the disability occurred, is an eligible beneficiary so long as the disability exists and the child remains incapable of self-support. DFAS-DE reinstates a childs annuity when a child between the ages of 18 and 22 reenters school on a full-time basis, or a disabling condition recurs making the child incapable of self-support. Marriage at any age terminates a childs eligibility. The monthly annuity for children is 55 percent and is not reduced by DIC or when a disabled child attains age 62. Marriage at any age terminates a childs eligibility.
Survivor annuities are taxable income. You will receive a tax statement from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service at the end of the year. The statement will show the full amount of the annuity payments you received and the total amount of tax withheld during the year.
Annuities may be subject to federal estate taxes. Beneficiaries should address tax questions to a legal assistance officer or the nearest Internal Revenue Service office.
What Are The Methods For Dividing Retirement Pay
There are three ways the military will accept a military division order. You can write a percentage, you can write a dollar amount, or you can write a hypothetical award.
A percentage can be stated in traditional form or by use of a formula that converts to a percentage like the Time Rule Formula. For example:
Participants Accrued Benefit shall be allocated:
If we plug in data points it might look something like this: 20 years of service earned during marriage divided by 30 years of total service equals 66% states as a percentage, and if you multiply that by 50%, the resulting percentage would be 33% of total monthly benefits.
In addition to percentage , the Military accepts a dollar award to pay a former spouse on a monthly basis. However, for Military plans-be careful using a dollar amount because the military has regulations in place that state if a dollar amount is used, cost of living adjustments are excluded .
For example, if you wrote into an order: Former Spouse is awarded $500 a month, plus proportional cost of living increases, the military would only pay $500 a month and ignore the rest regarding the cost of living.
This is a different procedure than many litigants are used to with private plans-where if you write something the Plan does not agree with, the Plan will reject the entire order and tell you to re-write it to fix the sections the Particular Plan does not agree with. The military will just process parts of the order.
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Know Your Mwr Program
- No matter what season it is, its always time to check out your Morale, Welfare and Recreation program. Get tickets to an amusement park, participate in a fitness program or check out one of the libraries. Those are just a few benefits of MWR. There are lots of ways to relax, have fun and connect with others:
- Fitness, aquatics and sports programs
- Boating programs, bowling centers and golf courses
- Individual skills development programs
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If you are rated as totally disabled as a result of a service-connected disability for at least eight continuous years preceding death, your spouse is entitled to an additional $246. An additional $286 is payable for each dependent child.
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The National Military Family Association Scholarship
The NMFA scholarship can be used by military spouses for both education assistance and employment purposes. The NMFA awards selected individuals with an average of $500 to $1,000 to achieve your education goals. You can use the award for any education purposes from degrees, certifications, licenses, to technical degrees.
This program typically offers applications to spouses twice a year so make sure to look both at the beginning of the year and the end.
Active Duty Spouse Or Member
If you are planning on joining the military and planning on getting married, there are certain advantages and disadvantages to tying that knot before you leave for basic training. As with any marriage, there are challenges. However, there are many challenges unique to the military. Being gone half the time is a real possibility depending on what job in the military and person selects. There are some jobs that do not deploy at all
The divorce rate in the United States is about 50 percent, and that statistic follows over to the military. The military divorce rate is traditionally a little higher, because of the difficulty of a military life brings its challenges to the family. Frequent moves and trips, unaccompanied assignments, long working hours, combat deployments, and potentially dangerous work can add to the stresses of married life. Some units within the military such as special operations tend to have a higher average divorce rate than other military counterparts and civilian society. However, the military provides many benefits to help the family, unlike many other employers, do. Here are a few of the monetary and living benefits available to military members:
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