[Claim for Deceased Air Force Member's SBP Annuity]

B-242964: Aug 14, 1991

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Shirley Jones
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The Air Force requested a decision on an ex-wife's and widow's competing claims for a deceased Air Force member's Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity. The Air Force advised that: (1) the decedent unsuccessfully attempted to change his ex-wife's SBP annuity to that of spouse instead of person with insurable interest when they remarried; (2) when they subsequently divorced, the decedent did not act to provide former-spouse coverage within the required period, and his new wife became his beneficiary; and (3) it failed to notify the decedent's ex-wife of her change in status. GAO held that the: (1) Air Force's failure to notify the ex-wife of her status change voided her ineligibility; (2) Air Force should deduct the increased cost of her coverage from the amount due her; and (3) decedent's widow could request waiver of the erroneous payments she received. Accordingly, the decedent's ex-wife was entitled to the annuity.