Survivor & Casualty Assistance
Your service member has died, but that doesn't mean you have lost your ties to your military community. As a family member, you qualify for beneficial services that can help you cope, steer you through the legal and financial maze of probate, and support you in rebuilding your life and finding your new normal. Your military network provides immediate and long-term assistance with everything from understanding your benefits and connecting with a grief counselor to planning your financial future. You're not alone.
Grief and Loss of a Loved One, The Days Ahead
Grief is a natural response when a loved one dies. How you grieve depends on your personality, your life experiences, the nature of your loss and your coping style.
After the death of a loved one, the last things you want to think about are taxes. However, your loved one may be entitled to certain benefits, including tax forgiveness. Here are answers to some common questions about tax liability and forgiveness.
Tax Extensions for Survivors
If you're a survivor of a service member who has died on active duty, you may have the option of taking extra time to file your tax return.
Employment Resources for Family Members of Deceased Service Members
Joining the workforce after the death or disability of a loved one can ease financial strain and provide a way to find your new normal. When seeking employment with the federal government, military family members may be eligible for special preference programs. While these programs don’t guarantee a job, they provide a qualified candidate entry into the applicant pool.
Understanding the Role of the Casualty Assistance Officer
In its effort to ensure that military families have support in their time of need when a service member is declared deceased, whereabouts unknown or missing, the Department of Defense's Casualty Assistance Program assigns a dedicated casualty assistance officer to advise and assist the primary next of kin.
Moving After the Death of Your Loved One
Moving after the death of a loved one can be an important step toward creating your new normal. However, it can be emotionally exhausting.
Understanding the Probate Process, Survivor Benefits and Resources for Financial Planning
While no actions can erase the pain you feel after losing a family member or loved one, getting your financial and legal affairs in order can be a small step in the right direction and can provide some peace of mind during this difficult time.
Scholarship Opportunities for Surviving Family Members
One way of taking the first step to your new normal is by following your own educational dreams. If you or your children are interested in pursuing higher education, there are several scholarship opportunities available from both private organizations and federal programs providing financial assistance.
Gold Star and Surviving Family Member Representatives
The National Defense Authorization Act 2014, Section 633, requires each secretary of a military department to designate a specific member to assist spouses and other dependents of service members, including Reserve Components, who die on active duty.
Finding Support After the Death of a Loved One
After the death of a loved one, you may experience a wide range of emotions. That is natural. Finding your new normal after the death of a loved one is not the same for everyone.
Making Funeral and Burial Arrangements
Your casualty assistance officer, or CAO, or mortuary officer is there to assist you with making funeral and burial arrangements in honor of your loved one's service and sacrifice.
Bereavement Camps: An Opportunity to Grieve and Heal
Grieving can be a lonely experience. Being with others who are grieving can reassure you that what you're feeling is perfectly normal. Bereavement camps, seminars and retreats offer opportunities for you to connect with people who understand how to help you move forward in your grief journey.
Understanding the Survivor Benefit Plan
The Survivor Benefit Plan, or SRB, allows retired service members to allocate a portion of their retired pay to a spouse or other eligible beneficiary after their death. Every retiring service member with an eligible spouse or child receives automatic enrollment in the Survivor Benefit Plan at the maximum level
Making the Final Move
Whether you are hesitant or ready to move after the death of you loved one, it is helpful to understand the housing options and moving benefits available to survivors – as well as some practical steps to take – that may assist your move when the day comes.
Overview of Casualty Assistance
The Department of Defense's Casualty Assistance Program makes sure that military families have support in their time of need, including understanding all benefits and other forms of assistance. Although the term "casualty" is usually associated with death, casualty support to eligible family members also means support after injury and illness, and when a service member is missing.
Funeral and Burial Benefits for Service Members
The Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs ensure that service members who die on active duty receive recognition and dignified burial services. Furthermore, survivors are offered care and help.