Active Duty Survivor Benefits

The Active Duty Survivor Benefit provides some measure of financial support for the loved ones of servicemembers who die during active duty. Our government understands the sacrifices required of servicemembers and has put in place survivor benefits listed below in case of the ultimate sacrifice. Navy Mutual wants to help you to understand your benefits, build a strong foundation for family financial planning, and achieve peace of mind that you are providing a financial support system for your loved ones.

Service Benefits for Active Duty Death

Death Gratuity Lump sum payment of $100,000 (tax free).
Service-members' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Coverage of up to $400,000 for all service members. SGLI pays a lump sum or monthly payments for active-duty death and deaths that occur within 120 days of leaving the service.
Pay Arrears in pay and payment for accumulated leave.
Housing Benefit Survivors are entitled to one year of either continued government housing or a lump sum payment for 1 year of BAH, whichever is currently being received.
Final Move A no-cost shipment of household goods within 1 year.
Medical Benefits Survivors continue to receive health care benefits as "Active Duty Dependents,” including the dental plan, for three years. After three years, they may transition to TRICARE, as is offered to the families of military retirees. Dependent children of deceased service members receive TRICARE Prime medical coverage at no cost, until age 21, or age 23 if they are full-time college students.
Burial Benefit The military will provide for the care and deposition of your remains, including burial in a national cemetery with appropriate military honors. If a family chooses to make their own private arrangements and utilize a private cemetery, a reimbursement may be available.
Funeral Travel Transportation reimbursement for immediate family for travel to and from the funeral is available or the government will provide suitable transportation.
Commissary and Assistance An unmarried surviving spouse continues to be eligible for a dependent ID card with all the rights and privileges of an active duty dependent.
Counseling and Assistance Families will be assigned a Casualty Assistance Calls Officer (CACO), who is responsible for counseling and assisting them with their efforts to understand and apply for all of their eligible survivor benefits.
Legal Assistance Base Legal Service Offices continue to be available to surviving dependents.
Home Loan Surviving spouses (who have not remarried) of servicemembers who die on active duty or of a service-connected illness are eligible for VA Home Loans.
Grief Counseling The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Readjustment Grief Counseling (RCS) offers services for survivors.
Financial Counseling Beneficiary Financial Counseling Services (BFCS) offered to beneficiaries of Service-members' Group Life Insurance and Veterans' Group Life Insurance policies.

Monthly Payments to Survivors

These monthly benefits are available both to those who die on active duty and to those whose death in retirement is service-connected:

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
$1254 Unmarried Spouse Spouse will retain DIC benefits as long as they do not remarry prior to age 57.
$270 For first two years Children's DIC benefits apply to age 18 (age 23 if enrolled in post-secondary education).
$311 Per child Dependent parents may be eligible for DIC under certain conditions.
$275 Unmarried Spouse Special survivor indemnity allowance.
If No Eligible Spouse - Supplementary DIC
$529 One child Ages 18-23 $263 per month if unmarried and continuing education
$761 Two children Disabled children over age 18 $529 per month
$994 Three children  
+$188 Four+ children  

Survivors' and Dependents' Education Assistance (DEA)

A monthly education or training allowance is payable to the unmarried spouse and children of the service member while attending VA-approved post-secondary education institutions. For a full-time student the monthly allowance is $1021; lesser amounts are paid for less than full-time students.

Dependents eligible for this benefit:

  • Unmarried spouse of an active duty service member has a 20-year window of eligibility beginning upon the service member's death.
  • Unmarried spouse of a retired service member whose death is service-connected has 10 years of eligibility.
  • Service member children age 18 to 26 may utilize the benefit; under certain conditions eligibility can be extended to age 31.

Survivor Benefit Plan

The military Survivor Benefit Plan is provided at no cost while on active duty. Retirement pay is calculated based on 75% of the deceased member’s base pay and the SBP annuity is 55% of that number.

This annuity is offset dollar for dollar by the spouse's Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from the VA.