Information for Veterans and their family members.
When a retired Veteran dies, the family needs to contact DFAS (retirement pay) and the VA (if receiving disability pay) to inform them of the death of the Veteran.
Until a bill is passed that ensures payments to the deceased veteran will continue untill the end of month in which the death occurred, DFAS and VA can go into the joint accounts and recover the over payments and leave the spouse penniless in many instances. The death of the veteran causes grief enough. The survivor's bank accounts need protection.
DFAS website: https://www.dfas.mil/
VA website: https://www.va.gov/
What to do when a veteran dies: https://www.veteranaid.org/
Military Funeral Honors: Military Funeral Honors - National Cemetery Administration (va.gov)
Listing of Veterans Cemeteries: FYI, we have 2 spaces left at Angel Hill Cemetery. Listing of Veterans Cemeteries (va.gov)
Visit the Post Everlasting on the Department of Maryland's website.
Ready to go?
After assisting a few surviving spouses with issues from deceased spouse’s lack of preparation, I have put this together to hopefully assist veterans now vs later.
Are you prepared for the dirt nap? Do you have everything in order for the spouse’s/family’s sake?
Are all properties in both names with respective appraisal districts?
Are all vehicles in both names?
Are both names on all bank accounts, stock accounts retirement accounts etc or beneficiaries on all of them.?
Do you have all life insurance policies in one place?
Are the beneficiaries current?
Do you have a lawyer?
Do you both have wills?
If you have minor children, is their future addressed in your wills?
Do you have a list of VA disability compensation items you were granted?
Do you have a list of names of websites, logins, passwords and actual site address?
Do you know surviving spouse might be qualified for “DIC”, Survivors Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits? Formal form name “DEPENDENCY AND INDEMNITY COMPENSATION, SURVIVORS PENSION, AND/OR ACCRUED BENEFITS”?
Do you know the form for “DIC” is VA form 21P-534EZ and it is suggested you fill it out now since you know most of the information required on the form? If you wish to do it, go to https://www.va.gov/vaforms/ on the interweb and put in the form number above and it will provide the latest version of the form. You can fill it out online, save it to your computer and print it out. Don’t attempt to do it on your phone. Put a note attached to it when something happens to you, to go to the above link and search the form and fill out the latest version and complete it with info from your completed copy. If the VA receives an out of date form, they will bounce it back. List your VA representative organization and phone number. Surviving spouse will have to submit the DIC benefit form to your VA representative to process with the VA. If you have pending claims or appeals, check the Dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) box. If you have pending claims or appeals check the box Accrued Benefits on page 6 of the form.
Do you know the VA guidelines state we must be 100% disabled for 10 years and regardless of what we die from, the spouse may be qualified for “DIC”? Do you know under 10 years at 100% disabled, we must die from an issue that we are receiving disability compensation (noted on the death certificate) for, or something that is secondary to it (noted on the death certificate) for the spouse to be qualified for “DIC”, or a presumptive condition. Currently DIC is about $1,357.56- month tax free. (Dec 2020 COLA increase). Do you know that if a surviving spouse is granted “DIC” based on your reason(s) for death, and veteran was 100% disabled at time of death, most counties will grant the spouse 100% property tax exemption when they apply with the county appraisal district? Are you and your family fully aware of the Agent Orange presumptive conditions? For those who might be going to hospice, insure the hospice manager is informed of any VA disabilities and hopefully they will note one of them as a major factor in the cause of death.
Do you know your death must be reported to:
Veterans Admin and advise them of veteran passing.
Phone 800.827.1000 Get the person’s name or id and record the date and time so should it come up that they claim they were not notified; survivor can prove they did call. Furnish: Deceased’s name, social security number and date of death
Social Security Admin. Phone 800.772.1213 Get the person’s name or id and record the date and time so should it come up that they claim they were not notified; survivor can prove they did call. Furnish: Deceased’s name, social security number and date of death
Military retirees, Defense Finance and Accounting Service “DFAS” must be notified of your passing. Please follow the steps below to report the death as soon as possible.
What You Need
•Retiree’s name, social security number and date of death
•Manner of death: natural, suicide, accident, homicide
•Retiree's marital status upon death
•Names, address of retiree's designated beneficiaries or next of kin living and deceased
Get the person’s name or id and record the date and time so should it come up that they claim they were not notified; survivor can prove they did call. Upon notification of death, DFAS will stop monthly payments to prevent overpayment.
Call DFAS at 800-321-1080. M - F, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Within 7-10 business days after reporting the death to DFAS, you should receive a letter containing the following documents:
•SF1174 Claim for Unpaid Compensation of Deceased Member of the Uniformed Service
•Annuity account forms and instructions (if the decedent was enrolled in the Survivor Benefit Plan or the Retired Serviceman's Family Protection Plan)
Complete the forms you received with your letter and return them with a copy of the retiree’s Death Certificate that includes cause of death to: Defense Finance and Accounting Service
U.S. Military Retired Pay
8899 E 56th Street
Indianapolis IN 46249-1200
If you need assistance completing your DFAS claim forms, please call 800-321-1080. Do you know you should have a couple of spare copies of your DD-214 in that folder? Do you know that you and your spouse may be eligible to be buried in a VA National Cemetery? Do you know you can obtain preapproval? (VA form 40-10007) Do you know part of the expense of a funeral home may be reimbursable from the VA? Do you know most probably your spouse/family member should get 10 copies of your death certificate just to be on the safe side
Do you have an accordion type large expandable folder for all important papers to be kept in a safe place? Does your spouse know where it is kept? Make sure you go over all documents in the folder with your spouse/family member. Remember, the Veterans Administration consists of 3 different administrations: VA Benefit Administration, VA Healthcare Administration and VA National Cemetery Administration. Don’t expect the healthcare employees to file a claim for you. Don’t assume the healthcare employees speak to the benefits employees about you and vice a versa.
I’m pretty sure you know, nobody has left this world alive? We are never too young or too healthy to be ready.
This is a generic paper, applies equally to both spouses or family members. The Veterans Administration website va.gov can be our friend! If you are reluctant to do this; at least do it for your spouse/family.