You were part of the military family when you supported your service member in his or her mission. And you’re part of the family now…and forever. That’s why the services have designed programs especially for survivors – tools and services to help you cope, make informed decisions, grieve in healthy ways and begin to envision a life with new opportunities.
Here are essential steps survivors can take:
Each branch of the military service offers a Casualty Assistance Program that provides long-term support to surviving families of deceased service members. You will be assigned a case manager, or casualty assistance officer, that can assist you with support groups, grief counseling, benefit assistance and financial counseling.
You can also speak to your service’s Gold Star and Surviving Family Member Representative, who is designated to assist spouses and other dependents of service members who die on active duty. These representatives provide support and address concerns regarding casualty assistance and survivor benefits.
The Department of Defense offers free and confidential non-medical counseling for eligible surviving family members of service members who died on active duty. Call Military OneSource 24/7 to schedule grief and bereavement counseling for survivors via face-to-face, phone, online or video counseling sessions.
Many other organizations offer support for surviving family members. “The Days Ahead” provides a list of organizations you may want to consider.