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Casualty Entitlements - Retired Members
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Miscellaneous Rights and Benefits

Basic Information. There are other federal and state rights and benefits here to which eligible family members may be entitled. Please read the brief description of each right or benefit. If you think you may qualify for a benefit and are interested, ask your CAR for more information.

Commercial Insurance. For commercial insurance, you should contact the nearest representative or the home office of the company for settlement. Your CAR can advise you of any insurance allotments that were being deducted from the member’s pay.

Emergency Financial Assistance. The military Aid Societies, such as the Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) offers qualifying family members financial assistance in the form of interest-free loans or grants during personal and family emergencies. Aid may be given for such purposes as food, rent, utilities, essential car repair, and certain medical and dental care. The assistance is temporary and based on immediate needs. The assistance is available through the AFAS section located in the Family Support Center (FSC) at most military bases. If there is no AFAS office near you, the AFAS has cross-servicing assistance agreements with the American Red Cross, Army Emergency Relief, and the Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society. Ask your CAR for additional details, or contact the base FSC.

Legal Assistance. Eligible family members may need or wish to obtain legal advice and assistance in connection with settling the estate of the deceased member, making a new will for the surviving spouse, taxation questions, and other related legal matters. Your CAR and mortuary affairs representative, in the course of helping you, may put you in contact with a legal assistance officer who can counsel you in these matters. The legal assistance officer can help in preparing the initial income tax return but can only give preliminary advice on probate and settlement of the estate, court appearances, preparation of inheritance tax returns, or in regard to civilian employment and business matters. Since these matters are outside the scope of the Legal Assistance Program, it may be necessary for survivors to obtain the services of civilian counsel. If you are not acquainted with an attorney and want help in obtaining one, the legal assistance officer can refer you to such counsel through the local bar association. Government agencies, such as the VA, Social Security Administration, and the DFAS-DE Center will help you in processing your claims for benefits and entitlements. Such matters are expeditiously handled without resort to civilian counsel or expense to you. In case of factual disputes or conflicting claims, it might be wise to have civilian counsel.

Civil Service Job Preference. A surviving spouse may be eligible to receive a ten point veterans service preference for federal service employment if the deceased member served in wartime or in a peacetime campaign or expedition for which the member received a campaign badge or service medal. You can obtain information about this point preference and available Federal employment from a Federal Civil Service Personnel Office.

State Benefits. Many states have passed laws providing certain rights, benefits, and privileges to the surviving spouse and children of the deceased Service member. These benefits can include bonuses, educational assistance, employment opportunities, tax relief, and others. Seek further information on the laws pertaining to a particular state from local government officials, the nearest VA office, or from local veterans organizations, such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans.

Income Tax Benefits. You may wish to contact the nearest office of the Internal Revenue Service for information and guidance regarding your federal tax status. Excluded from gross income for income tax purposes are: Social Security benefits; $3,000 of the death gratuity; burial benefits; VA pension and compensation payments; property, including cash money received as a gift under will provisions; and face amount of all life insurance policies.

Educational Benefits. Dependents Educational Assistance provides educational opportunities for the member's spouse, children between the ages of 18 and 26, and children under 18, under certain conditions, of a retiree who dies from a service-related injury or illness. Eligible persons may receive up to 45 months of schooling (or the equivalent if enrolled part-time). Schooling must be in VA-approved schools and colleges. In addition to the Dependents Educational Assistance program, various programs are available to help children reach their education goals.

Scholarship Information. Many states, universities, and other groups sponsor scholarship programs for the children of deceased service members, particularly those with wartime service. Contact your high school guidance counselor and local library for further information.

Home Loan Guaranteed by the VA. An unremarried spouse of a Service member who died from a service-connected injury or illness may be eligible for a government-insured home loan benefit. To determine your eligibility, apply to the nearest VA office.

Credit Unions, Banks, and Charge Accounts. Contact all financial institutions concerning transfer of accounts to the survivor's name. Also, ask about any insurance associated with the accounts.

Lapel Button for Next of Kin. The military provides this button to the NOK of members who lost their lives while serving on extended active duty or while assigned to an Air National Guard or military Reserve unit in a drill status. Contact your CAR to obtain a lapel button.

Gold Star Lapel Button for Next of Kin. The military furnishes this button to the NOK of members who lost their lives while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States or while serving with a friendly foreign force engaged in an armed conflict in which the United States is not a belligerent party. Contact your CAR to obtain a gold star lapel button.

Support Agencies

Family Support Center (FSC). A service organization for military families and a focal point for family matters. They provide immediate, short-term support to help families with challenging life situations. They help family members identify and clarify needs, determine appropriate forms of assistance and provide linkage to those resources. Appropriate referral is ensured through follow-up. They provide information and assistance to the installation commander and unit leadership to address family concerns. In addition, they provide a range of prevention and enrichment services designed to help family members adapt to current and future changes in their lives. These programs are presented at the FSC by staff members, other base agencies, or by agencies from the local civilian community.

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). TAPS is a non-profit organization and is America’s national peer support organization that cares about and supports all “survivors” including spouses, significant others, children, parents, siblings, coworkers, and friends affected by a death in the armed forces. TAPS operates a national toll-free crisis and information line 24-hours a day, 7 days a week with help available through TAPS’ Board of Advisors of leading experts in grief, trauma, and critical incident stress. For more information you may write to Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, National Headquarters, 2001 S Street, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20009, or call them toll free at 1-800-959-8277.

Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. A non-profit national military widows service organization that provides support and information to widows of service members who die on active duty or as a result of service-connected disabilities. They respond to all non-monetary requests for assistance. For additional information or assistance, you may write to the Gold Star Wives of America, Inc., P.O. Box 361986, Birmingham, Alabama 35236 or call them toll free at 1-888-751-6350.

Above Information Courtesy of United States Air Force

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