The spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) ensures faithful segregation of chromosomes. Although most mammalian cell types depend on the SAC for viability, we found that human HAP1 cells can grow SAC independently. We generated MAD1- and MAD2-deficient cells and mutagenized them to identify synthetic lethal interactions, revealing that chromosome congression factors become essential upon SAC deficiency. Besides expected hits, we also found that BUB1 becomes essential in SAC-deficient cells. We found that the BUB1 C terminus regulates alignment as well as recruitment of CENPF. Second, we found that BUBR1 was not essential in SAC-deficient HAP1 cells. We confirmed that BUBR1 does not regulate chromosome alignment in HAP1 cells and that BUB1 does not regulate chromosome alignment through BUBR1. Taken together, our data resolve some long-standing questions about the interplay between BUB1 and BUBR1 and their respective roles in the SAC and chromosome alignment.