The Military Death Gratuity

man in repose at arlington cemetery

The death gratuity is a one-time non-taxable payment to help surviving family members deal with the financial hardships that accompany the loss of a service member.

How Much Is The Death Gratuity?

A payment of $100,000 is payable for survivors. The death gratuity is tax free from federal and state income taxes.

Who Is Covered By The Death Gratuity?

The death gratuity is payable to survivors of those whose died under the following conditions:

  • A member who dies while on active duty or while on authorized travel
  • A reservist who dies while on inactive duty training or on authorized travel
  • A ROTC member who dies while performing annual training duty under orders for a period of more than 13 days, or on authorized travel 
  • A person who has been accepted to active duty and dies while traveling to or from that place or under orders

Who May Receive The Death Gratuity?

The death gratuity is payable to survivors of the deceased in this order:

  1. The surviving spouse of the person
  2. If there is no surviving spouse, to any surviving children and the descendants of any deceased children
  3. If there is none of the above, to the surviving parents of the person or their survivors
  4. If there is none of the above, to the duly appointed executor or administrator of the estate of the person.
  5. If there is none of the above, to other next of kin of the person entitled under the laws of domicile of the person at the time of the person's death.

A member can designate a beneficiary by updating their DD Form 93, Record of Emergency Data.

If there are no survivors listed above, and there is no designation, no death gratuity is paid.

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