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Military pension question
Old 10-16-2017, 10:05 PM   #1
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Military pension question

OK, I need some help for one of my wife's friends....

She is going with an ex military man who has a pension over $100K.... he has been married a few times... first wife for 23 years... last for only a few months...


The question is if she marries him can she get any of his pension if he dies?


I have done zero research as she just asked the question 3 minutes ago... so I came here first...

Edit to add... he has been getting it for at least one year and probably many...
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Old 10-16-2017, 10:34 PM   #2
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$100 K pension seems really high. This may include disability compensation from the VA. Regardless, no, she is not entitled to any of his pension. Since he is retired he would have had to sign up for a spousal benefit and pay a monthly fee (this is very expensive). The spouse that was present would have had to sign over her rights (and notorized) prior to separation. Hard to believe any ex of 23 would have given up that benefit. I would guess ex wife gets 50% which would decrease members pension.
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Old 10-16-2017, 10:38 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by griffithee View Post
$100 K pension seems really high. This may include disability compensation from the VA. Regardless, no, she is not entitled to any of his pension. Since he is retired he would have had to sign up for a spousal benefit and pay a monthly fee (this is very expensive). The spouse that was present would have had to sign over her rights (and notorized) prior to separation. Hard to believe any ex of 23 would have given up that benefit. I would guess ex wife gets 50% which would decrease members pension.

Wife's friend saw it on the tax return so it is all his... old wife might have been paid off some other way as he does not seem to have any assets now...

Also, he was talking about getting more, so I think he is trying to get disability also... but now it is much more than $100K... just threw that to round....

Thanks for the info....
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Old 10-17-2017, 06:40 AM   #4
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Military pensions have SBP. It's annuity that is purchased like life insurance. It pays 55% of pension and is COLA adjusted. Also, opportunity to buy is based on life events (like marriage).
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Old 10-17-2017, 08:16 AM   #5
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what a gold digger! haha no way.
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:51 AM   #6
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Military pensions have SBP. It's annuity that is purchased like life insurance. It pays 55% of pension and is COLA adjusted. Also, opportunity to buy is based on life events (like marriage).
So what you are saying is that he could buy into the ability for her to get the pension after he died... but at 55% of what he gets now?

But if he does not buy in she gets nothing?
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:57 AM   #7
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what a gold digger! haha no way.

Not really.... she is looking into his history.... I was the one who thought she might not be able to get survivor benefits... she has refused to marry him so far as it has only been a short time and she was divorced about a year ago.... as she said, I take no money from him and pay my own bills....
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Old 10-17-2017, 10:12 AM   #8
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OK... found a link...

Friend had said that she was told his ex could not remarry before 55 or she would lose out... I have found that online... but if he remarried which person would get that benefit?
Spouse Remarriage

Your surviving spouse may remarry after age 55 and continue to receive SBP payments for life. If remarried before age 55, SBP payments will stop, but may be resumed if the marriage later ends due to death or divorce.




SBP Spouse Cost and Benefits | Military.com

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Old 10-17-2017, 10:25 AM   #9
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Here's the link & an excerpt with the rule. Bottom line is that only one spouse can receive a survivor's benefit.

"If the veteran elects to cover a former spouse, a current spouse is ineligible to receive SBP."

Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) – VA.ORG

Regarding the amount, $100k in retired pay is quite high but possible. An O-6 with 30yrs service under the old retirement system would receive $102k/yr retirement pay.
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Old 10-17-2017, 11:58 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Huston55 View Post
Here's the link & an excerpt with the rule. Bottom line is that only one spouse can receive a survivor's benefit.

"If the veteran elects to cover a former spouse, a current spouse is ineligible to receive SBP."

Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) – VA.ORG

Regarding the amount, $100k in retired pay is quite high but possible. An O-6 with 30yrs service under the old retirement system would receive $102k/yr retirement pay.
I asked... he was a Colonel.... started when 18 YO... but do not know how many years of service...

Also, closer to $125K....
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Old 10-17-2017, 12:10 PM   #11
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I asked... he was a Colonel.... started when 18 YO... but do not know how many years of service...

Also, closer to $125K....


Hmmm...a colonel needs to have a bachelor degree, so if he started at age 18 he had to have been enlisted first.
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Old 10-17-2017, 12:25 PM   #12
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If she is interested in marrying this fellow each of them should lay out their financials and make a plan - together. Take into consideration that each may have children from a previous marriage and wills can be changed at any time. Marriage in retirement can be complicated.
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Old 10-17-2017, 12:35 PM   #13
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If he started at 18 yes he was enlisted first. I did 9 years enlisted before I went to officer candidate school and was commissioned. He could easily make O-6 after 22 years (commissioned time). So let's say 4 years enlisted and 26 as an officer. Final pay is high 3. So at 30 years he would receive 75% of his high three so about 100K give or take. First wife in this scenario is the only one who could receive 55% of his retired pay upon his death. Only if he signed up for SBP. Ex would have to sign off if he declined. New wife-GF is eligible for none of that. The only thing she could get is commissary benefits, etc... if she married him. She would get a dependent ID card which would give her base access.
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Old 10-17-2017, 01:46 PM   #14
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As others are stated is pension would not be ~120K but more like $100K at the very most as a Col. Of course that is assuming he did 30 years in the military.

One thing I didn't see mentioned is Tricare. By marrying him she will essentially gain extremely cheap healthcare for life among other benefits.
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Old 10-17-2017, 02:06 PM   #15
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I did 9 years enlisted before I went to officer candidate school and was commissioned.
Do you recommend this path?
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Old 10-17-2017, 02:14 PM   #16
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If he started at 18 yes he was enlisted first. I did 9 years enlisted before I went to officer candidate school and was commissioned. He could easily make O-6 after 22 years (commissioned time). So let's say 4 years enlisted and 26 as an officer. Final pay is high 3. So at 30 years he would receive 75% of his high three so about 100K give or take. First wife in this scenario is the only one who could receive 55% of his retired pay upon his death. Only if he signed up for SBP. Ex would have to sign off if he declined. New wife-GF is eligible for none of that. The only thing she could get is commissary benefits, etc... if she married him. She would get a dependent ID card which would give her base access.
Not correct. If former spouse marries or signs away her SBP, the new spouse is eligible. See link in my post above.
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Old 10-17-2017, 03:19 PM   #17
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As others are stated is pension would not be ~120K but more like $100K at the very most as a Col. Of course that is assuming he did 30 years in the military.
We don't know his age or when he retired. COLA ramps the retired pay up.
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Old 10-17-2017, 03:27 PM   #18
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If she is interested in marrying this fellow each of them should lay out their financials and make a plan - together. Take into consideration that each may have children from a previous marriage and wills can be changed at any time. Marriage in retirement can be complicated.
They are not retired... he is working... making over $100K.... she is trying to find a job after moving...

Yes, that is what she wants to do, but also verify which is where I came in... but I know nothing about military pensions.... from what I understand he has been married 3 times already... so she is a bit concerned...
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Old 10-17-2017, 03:30 PM   #19
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As others are stated is pension would not be ~120K but more like $100K at the very most as a Col. Of course that is assuming he did 30 years in the military.

One thing I didn't see mentioned is Tricare. By marrying him she will essentially gain extremely cheap healthcare for life among other benefits.
Would it be for life or until she got divorced?

I know it is over $120K as I saw a pic of the first page of his tax return... I did ask if he had any other pension and she said she did not know...


Edit to add from other posts.... I also said she need to look at his divorce decree on first wife.... she might have been given rights to pension... also, she has not remarried because she knew that marrying prior to 55 would lose her benefits... so I think she has the right of survivor and has not given it up... if so, then I think new GF would not get anything....
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Old 10-17-2017, 05:58 PM   #20
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Hard to tell from your info whether or not the gentleman's marriages all ended in divorce or if he was widowed along the way. Multiple divorces would give me pause.
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