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Do You Know Your Survivor Benefits? True or False

Folding the flag at a Marine funeral.

An immediate compensation will be paid to my survivors, usually within 36 hours. SGLI will be paid to my spouse or next-of-kin immediately upon confirmation of my death. My family must vacate housing or will lose BAH within 30 days of my death. 

It's a fact, military members go into harms way. It's a way of life and a choice that members are aware of when they make the decision to enter military service. But the reality is that we don't want to think about death.  Planning for the future of your family after death is a task that many decide to put off. Why? Because no servicemember really wants to face the possibility that they may not come home and no spouse wants

to think about facing the rest of their lives without them. But deciding not to think about it, not to do anything about the remote possibility, may leave your spouse or family having to make tough choices at the worst possible time of their lives.

1. An immediate compensation will be paid to my survivors, usually within 36 hours.

True:  This immediate compensation is called the Death Gratuity and it currently stands at $100,000. This benefit is usually paid within 36 hours to the next of kin and is usually brought by the Casualty Assistance representative. It is intended to provide immediate cash to meet the needs of survivors. This benefit is tax free.

2. SGLI will be paid to my spouse or next-of-kin immediately upon confirmation of my death.

False: The death benefit of any life insurance policy will be paid to whomever you have listed as your beneficiary. Life insurance is not controlled by your will but is controlled by your beneficiary designation. Be sure to update your beneficiary choice on both your SGLI and your individual life insurance policies as changes (such as marriage, divorce, or new children) occur.

3. My family must vacate housing or will lose BAH within 30 days of my death.

False: Survivor's housing needs are covered for longer then that. They can either stay in government housing for up to 1 year, or can receive their housing allowance (BAH) for 1 year.

4. VA provides a survivors' and dependents' education assistance program that provides monthly payments for college enrollment.

True:  In 2007, $860 per month is available for full-time students from the Department of Veterans Affairs.  It's called Survivors' and Dependents' Education Assistance and offers up to 45 months of education benefits for spouses and children to pay for a variety of courses, such as: college courses, certificate programs, on-the-job training, etc.

This is a just a sample of some of the benefits available to active duty military personnel. To find out your family's survivor benefits, try our Survivor Entitlements and Benefits at a Glance calculator. It takes into account your active duty military and social security survivor benefits. This will be a great help to you in putting together a comprehensive life insurance plan.

Now that you know a few of the benefits available for your family should the worst case scenario come to pass, are they are enough? The reality is that most military families need more protection. Take a few minutes, figure out what your family would need if you were not with them, and take care of the most important people in your life.

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Since 1879, Navy Mutual has faithfully fulfilled its duty to support military families by providing excellent life insurance and annuity products. We are proud to serve as steadfast advocates for Navy Mutual Members to ensure they receive the benefits and financial security they deserve. At Navy Mutual, our guiding principle is to serve our Members the same way they serve our country — with integrity, passion, and commitment. Learn more at www.navymutual.org.

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