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Military Survivor Benefits


Military Survivor Benefits refer to a financial support program provided to eligible family members of deceased military personnel. These benefits aim to ensure the financial security of the surviving spouse and/or dependents. The program typically includes a variety of benefits, such as a monthly allowance, education assistance, and health care coverage, among others.

Key Takeaways

  1. Military Survivor Benefits provide financial support to the surviving family members of deceased service members, ensuring they receive compensation for the sacrifices made by their loved ones.
  2. There are various types of Military Survivor Benefits, including the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), and death gratuity, designed to cover a range of financial needs for the surviving family members.
  3. Eligibility for Military Survivor Benefits depends on factors such as service member’s military status, cause of death, and the relationship between the deceased member and the surviving beneficiary.


The term Military Survivor Benefits is important because it encompasses a range of financial and support programs provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to the families of deceased military service members.

These benefits ensure that the surviving dependents, including spouses and children, receive monetary compensation, educational support, healthcare coverage, and other essential resources after the loss of their loved one.

By offering these services, the VA honors the sacrifices made by both the military member and their family, while also aiding in the well-being and financial stability of those left behind.

Understanding Military Survivor Benefits is crucial for eligible families to be aware of and access the support they are entitled to, helping them to adapt and transition to life after their loved one’s military service.


The Military Survivor Benefits, also known as the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), primarily serves the purpose of providing financial support to the beneficiaries or survivors of the deceased service members or retirees. This support aims to ensure that the military families continue to receive a significant portion of the retiree’s earned benefits without facing severe financial hardships following the demise of their military personnel.

Essentially, it acts as a life insurance policy for the retired service member and intends to guarantee a stable income for the spouse or children after the retiree’s passing. Furthermore, the Military Survivor Benefit Plan offers a notable advantage compared to other insurance policies.

It compensates for the increased value of the retiree’s retirement pay due to cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), which is often lacking in traditional insurance policies. This inclusion ensures that the beneficiary receives an appropriate compensation amount based on the current economic standards.

Overall, the Military Survivor Benefits safeguards the financial future of the deceased service member’s family by maintaining a continuous flow of income, granting peace of mind and financial security to the loved ones left behind.

Examples of Military Survivor Benefits

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC): DIC is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of military service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease. For example, a surviving spouse or dependent child of a fallen soldier may receive monthly compensation to help alleviate the financial burden caused by the loss of the service member.

Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP): SBP is a Department of Defense (DoD) program that provides a portion of a service member’s retired pay as a monthly annuity to their designated beneficiary upon their death. For instance, if a military retiree chooses to enroll in the SBP, their spouse could receive a specified percentage of their retirement pay as a continuing source of financial support after the service member passes away.

Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI): VGLI is a program that offers life insurance coverage for veterans, service members transitioning to civilian life, and their eligible dependents. If a military member has enrolled in this program and passes away, their beneficiary (often a spouse, child, or other family member) would receive the life insurance payout to help cover expenses such as funeral costs, living expenses, and financial support for the family.

FAQ: Military Survivor Benefits

1. What are Military Survivor Benefits?

Military Survivor Benefits are financial support programs designed to provide assistance to the families of deceased service members, including spouses, children, and other dependents. These benefits often include financial compensation, educational assistance, medical care, and more.

2. Who is eligible for Military Survivor Benefits?

Eligibility for Military Survivor Benefits typically depends on the deceased service member’s status and the nature of their relationship with the beneficiary. In most cases, spouses, children, and certain other dependents may be eligible for these benefits.

3. What types of benefits are available for surviving family members?

There are several types of Military Survivor Benefits, including the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), and Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA). Each benefit has its own eligibility requirements and application processes.

4. How do I apply for Military Survivor Benefits?

To apply for Military Survivor Benefits, you’ll need to contact the appropriate agency or program that administers the specific benefit you are interested in. This may be the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) for the Survivor Benefit Plan, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, or the Department of Defense (DoD) for educational assistance programs.

5. Are Military Survivor Benefits taxable?

Some Military Survivor Benefits, like the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), are considered taxable income and must be reported on your federal income tax return. However, benefits such as Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) are generally non-taxable. It’s essential to check the tax implications for each specific benefit you receive.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
  • Survivors Pension
  • Death Gratuity Payment
  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA)
  • TRICARE for Life (TFL) Health Benefits

Sources for More Information