If you are like many military service men or women who find themselves faced with divorce, your biggest concern next to who gets the children is, what becomes of your benefits? Whether you currently live comfortably on military retirement benefits in Alaska or are still in the service, you are privy to several benefits. MilitaryBenefits.info explores what may become of your benefits after you and your spouse part ways.
If you retired from the armed forces, the courts may award a portion of your retirement pay to your former spouse. This is thanks to the 1982 Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act. However, the USFSPA does not specify how much in your retirement benefits your spouse will receive. It leaves that up to state law.
If your former spouse applies for “former spouse coverage” via the appropriate military agency within one year of your divorce, he or she may become a beneficiary on your Survivor Benefit plan. However, if your former spouse remarries before the age of 55, he or she becomes ineligible for SBP benefits.
When it comes to health benefits, the military abides by a 20/20/20 or 20/20/15 rule. Per the 20/20/20 rule, your former spouse is eligible for continued medical coverage under TRICARE if your marriage lasted for at least 20 years, you served in the armed forces for at least 20 years and your marriage and military services overlapped by at least 20 years. Benefits terminate if your spouse remarries and/or he or she enrolls in an employer-sponsored health plan.
Per the 20/20/15 rule, your former spouse may qualify for continued benefits if the first two criteria apply to your situation but there were only 15 years of overlap between your military service and marriage. In this case, your former spouse would receive continued coverage for up to one year.
The 20/20/20 rule applies for Post Exchange and commissary benefits as well as a military ID. If the 20/20/20 requirements do not apply to your situation, your spouse can no longer use his or her military ID for anything more than keepsake purposes.
This article is for educational purposes only. You should not construe it as legal advice.