Tools for Leaders/Command

Casualty Assistance

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Department of Defense policy states that "casualty procedures shall be uniform across the military departments except to the extent necessary to reflect the traditional practices or customs of a particular military department."

Program highlights

  • Casualty reporting using the Defense Casualty Information Processing System, a single standard system supporting uniform procedures, accounting and accurate reporting of casualties and ensuring support of family members, benefits tracking, coordinating mortuary affairs services, and the return of personal effects and
    human remains
  • Personal casualty notification by a minimum of a two-person uniformed notification team to surviving family members as identified on the service member's record of emergency data
  • Assignment of a casualty assistance officer or representative who works directly with the family as long as assistance is needed or requested by the family
  • Casualty assistance including transportation assistance, applying for and receiving benefits and entitlements, obtaining copies of records, reports and investigations, legal assistance (including tax issues), ensuring receipt of personal effects, mortuary services and funeral honors, relocation (including shipment of household goods), liaising with other federal agencies, providing information and referral, including bereavement counseling, spiritual support and other assistance as requested by the surviving family
  • Transportation of eligible family members to bedside for wounded, ill and injured service members, transportation of eligible family members to burial for active-duty fatalities, transportation to a unit or installation memorial service and transportation of eligible family members to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware to observe the dignified transfer of loved ones who die in a designated combat zone
  • Comprehensive guides for all primary next of kin of active-duty fatalities:
  • The Interactive Online Survivor Benefits Report, available to all eligible family members who have had a loved one die while on active duty, with invaluable information on all current and estimated future benefits for a family's financial planning
  • The Gold Star Advocate Program that provides support and addresses complaints by spouses and other dependents of deceased service members regarding casualty assistance or receipt of benefits authorized by law


All active-duty members, DoD civilians (based on duty status), and activated National Guard and reserve members are eligible.

Additional information

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