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Highlights

An advance decision was requested concerning the eligibility of certain survivors of a deceased Army member to receive an annuity under the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). The member had elected spouse and child coverage under SBP at retirement. He was thereafter divorced and remarried, but he died prior to the first anniversary of the remarriage. His second wife was pregnant at the time of his death. An SBP annuity had been established in favor of his children by the former marriage. However, with the posthumous birth of his child, the payment of the annuity to his other children was terminated, and the annuity was established in favor of his second wife. The member's first wife questioned the loss of the annuity by her children. GAO held that: (1) although the member's surviving spouse did not qualify for any annuity at the time of his death because they had not been married at least 1 year, the birth of his child qualified her as the eligible widow for annuity purposes effective the date of the child's birth; (2) effective the day after the member's death, an annuity could be paid to his surviving dependent children of the prior marriage but had to terminate on the date that the surviving spouse qualified for an annuity by the birth of the member's child; and (3) the child from the remarriage joined the member's other children as potential eligible beneficiaries to share the annuity should the eligible widow lose eligibility by remarriage before age 60 or by death.

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