The Department of Defense (DoD) will process, transport, and inter remains. It provides a casket, vault and headstone for interment in a government cemetery or may reimburse costs of up to $8,800 if the family elects to make private arrangements. Transportation for the immediate family to the burial is provided by the government at no charge, or may be reimbursed up to the government rate. It is recommended that family members make no travel arrangements until they have spoken with their casualty assistance officer. The casualty assistance officer will guide the family through the specific requirements and paperwork for the particular branch of Service involved. More information is available on the Military Funeral Honors website.
Surviving families may occupy government quarters or be paid housing allowances for 365 days. Those eligible for Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) will be paid in one lump sum. If living on the installation, the family will need to pay the housing allowance to the housing contractor. Survivors are also authorized one relocation move at government expense which must be completed within one year following the death of the service member. This can give surviving families breathing room and time to decide where they want to permanently settle. Children can also be allowed to finish the school year.
Currently-enrolled students in Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS) who are children of a fallen military member may continue in DDESS schools without limitation, regardless of their physical residence or upcoming school transition points. Continued enrollment requires a one-time parental request to the respective school. Yearly registration is required and students will need to meet all other requirements for enrollment – student conduct standards, etc. The student's family will have to assume responsibility for transportation. There is a separate policy for children enrolled in Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS). This policy allows the children of deceased active duty military members to be able to enroll in DoDDS schools on a space available, tuition-free basis.
Spouses are eligible for Commissary, Exchange, and Morale, Welfare and Recreation activities privileges indefinitely, unless they remarry. Children maintain eligibility until age 18, or 23 if enrolled full-time in college.
Military exchanges forgive Military Star credit card debt owed by families when their service member is killed in combat. Survivors are also eligible for legal assistance advice on benefits and entitlements, insurance, or taxation.
Dual Military: Congress has authorized continued payment of the deceased member’s housing allowance at the without-dependents rate for up to one year to a survivor who is also a service member.
Each of the Services may have Service specific benefits, such as the Army’s Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) program. SOS is an Army-wide program that provides dedicated and comprehensive support services to survivors of deceased Soldiers. The program standardizes casualty assistance services and policies across the Army and provides additional staffing at Casualty Assistance Centers (CACs), Army Community Service (ACS) Centers, and Army National Guard (ARNG) and US Army Reserve (USAR) Family Programs. Survivors should check with their Casualty Assistance Officer for a list of these specific services.
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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