Deployment: Worst Case Scenario

 (U.S. Navy/Joseph E. Montemarano)
(U.S. Navy/Joseph E. Montemarano)

It's not good to think about, but it must be prepared for. If you die while you are on duty, you will want to make sure that those closest to you are taken care of, financially and legally. Be sure to take care of these steps before you are deployed:

This includes writing your will, taking care of power of attorney, should your spouse or family need to have authority in legal affairs in your absence. For more, see our guide to producing a Family Care Plan.

Get your family care plan in order:

Death and Burial Benefits: Should you die in the line of duty, the military has many services and programs to take care of your funeral and burial, and provide assistance to your surviving family. For example, when a member dies on active duty, the survivors are entitled to all pay due for the previous month as well as a death gratuity of $6,000 to help the family meet immediate expenses and get their affairs in order. For full details, see Death and Burial Benefits.

Survivors Benefit Plan: This plan is primarily intended for retired reservists, but you can elect coverage for annuities to begin upon the your death, regardless of age when death occurs. If you choose this plan, you must obtain written authorization from the spouse. For more specifics on this plan, see the Survivor Benefits Plan section, visit the MOAA Website, or contact a military benefits counselor.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC): Spouses and children are eligible for payments if the Reserve member died while on active duty, or if the death was the result of injuries sustained during active duty. The amount of payments depends on rank and time in service. For more information see the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation page.

Medical Benefits: Medical benefits, including dental, will usually continue for one year after the member's death.

Family Relocation: The military will pay for transportation for family members and household goods to any location if the member dies while on active duty. For more on relocation, see the Relocation Center.

Education Benefits: Veterans' Affairs offer a broad range of college programs and other educational benefits for the surviving spouse and children. This is available under the War Widows and Orphans Educational Assistance Act. Contact your VA office for more information.

Learn more at the Deployment Center.

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