Survivor's Resource List

Widow in cemetery

Dealing with loss can be difficult. The following resources are available to help you deal with the loss of a servicemember or veteran.

Grief Support

Here is a brief listing of grief support resources:

Basic Allowance for Housing

The spouse and children (including children from a previous marriage) of a deceased service member living in government quarters are entitled to either remain in government housing for up to one year, or to relocate to private quarters and receive up to a year of Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) or Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) as appropriate. To receive this allowance for private quarters, the service member must have been eligible to receive those allowances for his or her dependents at the time of death. Note that the entitlement is 180 days, which may be any combination of use of government quarters and or allowances for private quarters. Housing benefits will generally be finalized within 7-14 days of the notification of next of kin.

Educational Benefits and Assistance

Spouse and Dependents Education Assistance Program The Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) program provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of certain veterans. The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances. Click here to learn more about the Dependents Education Assistance Program.

Marine GySgt John D. Fry Scholarship The Fry Scholarship is an amendment to the Post-9/11 GI Bill that makes education benefits available to the surviving spouses and children of service members who die in the line of duty after Sept. 10, 2001. Click here to learn more about the Fry Scholarship Program.


Scholarship assistance for dependent survivors of deceased members is provided by many schools, colleges, special scholarship funds, and by state laws. While such assistance is usually provided only for persons needing financial assistance, some aid may be furnished regardless of need. This is particularly true of state benefits. Additional information on this subject may be obtained from VA or your local state college board.

Federal Employment

Surviving spouses who have not remarried, and certain mothers of deceased members, who served during a war period, are entitled to an additional ten points to their earned rating on the civil service examination. Other benefits with respect to appointment and retention are also available. Information concerning preference eligibility may be obtained from the Office of Personnel Management, State Employment Office, or the local post office.

Social Security Benefits

Any benefits you may receive from the Social Security Administration (SSA) are administered by that agency independent of any benefits you receive through the military. You should contact the SSA as soon as possible after the service member's death so that your long term benefits can start as soon as possible. Within 30-90 days, SSA will pay to a surviving spouse or children a $255 lump sum death payment and will provide other monthly benefits to surviving family member. The amount of those benefits depends on how long the service member worked and contributed through Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) payroll deductions.

Your CACO will provide you with the claim application form and will help you arrange for an appointment. The CACO will also accompany you to that meeting if you wish. You may also contact the SSA for more information about this benefit at 1-800-772-1213. SSA claims are usually settled within 60-90 days from the date the SSA receives the claim.

State Benefits

Many states provide benefits for survivors of veterans such as educational assistance, land settlement preference, civil service preference, tax and license fee exemptions, loans, relief and rehabilitation, employment assistance and bonuses. State Veterans Commissions usually supervise these programs and may be contacted for additional information.

Unpaid Compensation

The designated beneficiary will receive any unpaid compensation due the service member on date of death. If no beneficiary was designated, then the recipient will be the surviving spouse. If there is no spouse, then any surviving children on their descendants will receive the funds in equal shares. If there are no children, then the parents of the service member will receive the funds. If there are no parents, then the funds will be distributed either to the person appointed to represent the member's estate or, if no representative was appointed then according to the state probate laws governing the service member's estate.

The CACO will assist you in the completion of the Claim for Unpaid Compensation of Deceased Members of the Uniformed Services (Standard Form 1174), which is an application to receive the remaining money in the service member's account. The CACO will send the paperwork to DFAS and the branch Personnel Office. These claims are usually settled within 60-90 days of the service member's death, and may include pay and allowances accumulated up to the date of death (less any indebtedness to the Government), as well as any unused leave due on the date of death.

Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card (DD Form 1173)

The Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card identifies the holder as an authorized patron for privileges indicated on the card. Member's dependents over the age of 10 must have a card to gain access to facilities such as the commissary and exchange, or to obtain medical care at a government facility or through a civilian care facility, base theater privileges and so forth. As the surviving dependent of a deceased member your present card expires of the date of the member's death. You must renew this card within 30 days of the member's death in order to continue to have access to the aforementioned privileges.

Your CACO will make arrangements for you to receive a new card and will accompany you to the nearest Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS) site or other military installation authorized to issue ID cards. You should take the old ID card along with a copy of the DD Form 1300 to the issuing office. You may use your old card for identification until a card is obtained.

Victim Assistance Program

As a result of the Victim's Rights and Restitution Act of 1990, survivors of persons who die as a result of criminal activity may receive state-sponsored benefits in the form of financial assistance, such as a death gratuity or a loan program, counseling services and other forms of assistance. The act also provides that the survivors may receive information regarding any criminal investigation, prosecution, incarceration, clemency actions and parole of the person(s) responsible for the death. This includes providing input to the criminal justice system regarding the impact of the crime.

Pursuant to this legislation, the Department of Defense has established Victim and Witness Assistance Procedures which are primarily intended to assist victims or their survivors in availing themselves of victims rights within the military justice system. These procedures also provide a means for survivors to apply for and take advantage of those benefits, which are offered, in every state, in cases which are handled, in civilian jurisdictions. Your CACO will be able to get answers to any questions you may have regarding this program.

Show Full Article

Related Topics

Personal Finance