Armed Forces News

Student beneficiaries of the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) now will have an easier time proving their eligibility. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) unveiled several changes in the certification process, aimed at streamlining and simplifying the process.

College students will certify their eligibility annually rather than each term. They also can self-certify, and no longer have to produce an official signature or documentation when certifying full-time attendance. The DD-2788 Child Annuitant’s School Certification form has been shortened and simplified as well, to focus on a student’s intent to continue full-time education. Each student will have to fill out a new Child Annuitant’s Certification of Previous Attendance Letter, but DFAS states that the form is simple to navigate.


Here are more details:
College students between ages 18 and 22 will fill out, sign and submit the new DD 2788 each year. High school students older than 18 also will fill out a DD 2788 annually, as well as a Child Annuitant’s Certification for Previous Attendance Letter, at the end of each school year. High school students who are turning 18 will receive by mail a school certification form roughly 60 to 90 days before their birthday. They will need to complete the form, have it signed by a parent or guardian, and returned to DFAS before the first day of the month of their birthday.

These certifications all can be handled online through AskDFAS at, or through this mobile browser.

The agency can send   email reminders when the time for submitting school certifications approaches. Student annuitants who want to see them can do so, providing they have a myPay account and valid email address. The DFAS YouTube channel has a video that explains how to get this process started.

Each student annuitant older than 18 who is attending college can expect to get a Child Annuitant’s School Certification package via mail. It will include a DD 2788 form plus a Child Annuitant’s Certification for Previous Attendance Letter. They should complete, sign and return the paperwork to DFAS by no later than July 31 – 60 days from the date the package was mailed. If DFAS does not get the completed paperwork in time, the agency will suspend payments until it gets the material.
Students older than 18 who are not incapacitated and are attending high school or college must attend school full time in order to qualify for SBP annuity payments. These students should expect to get a school certification form some 60 to 90 days before their 18th birthday. It must be completed and signed by a parent or guardian before the first day of the month of the annuitant’s 18th birthday.