How to Find Death Benefits

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The Department of Veterans Affairs offers assistance in finding death benefits available for surviving spouses and children of military personnel. The Social Security Administration administers programs that provide financial assistance for qualified surviving spouses and children. These two organizations share one common denominator: they each embody a resource that provides death benefits. Search companies, individuals and private organizations may charge you a fee for helping you find death benefits when you can do the same job yourself and save time and money.

Military Benefits

File a request for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. This tax-exempt benefit provides income for a surviving spouse and children. The Casualty Assistance Officer at your nearest Veterans Affairs office will provide you with an application form and help you complete it.

Check to see if you qualify for monthly educational assistance benefits. This program offers up to 45 months of benefits or you may qualify for a work--study program. Apply for either of these benefits at any regional VA office.

Apply for a VA guaranteed home mortgage loan from a lending institution. Mortgage lenders can go online and secure a VA certificate of eligibility for qualified survivors.

Contact the Department of Veterans Affairs insurance center by telephone or visit its website. They will check a database to see if the service member carried a Servicemember's Group Life Insurance policy and if so, help you file a claim.

Inquire about grave markers and headstones. The Department of Veterans Affairs makes these available wherever required. The Casualty Assistance Officer at your nearest VA regional office can help you with this.

Social Security Benefits

Request a lump sum death benefit from the Social Security Administration and have a certified copy of your birth certificate with you to prove your identity. Secondary proof of identity may include naturalization papers; military discharge papers or a completed W-2 form. To expedite this process, apply in person at your nearest social security office.

Prepare to answer questions about the deceased. You should know his or her social security number as well as the date and place of death. You may need to show the names, social security numbers, and age of the deceased’s former spouses. You should know how and when their marriage ended. You may need to list the names of all the deceased worker’s children under the age of 18 and those under the age of 22 who attend secondary school.

Carry your checkbook with you so you can make arrangements for direct deposit of death benefits.

Tips

  • Toll free telephone number for the Department of Veterans Affairs: 1-800-827-1000

    Toll free telephone number for the Social Security Administration: 1-800-772-1213

    Toll free telephone number for Servicember's Group Life Insurance: 1-800-419-1473

Warnings

  • Check the accuracy of all documents. Incorrect data can disqualify death benefits.

References

About the Author

Truell Bliss retired from the restaurant and hospitality industry after almost a lifetime of service. An officer in the American Culinary Federation, he earned his dietary manager certification and progressed into positions as chef instructor, chef manager, dining services operations manager and finally, director of food service.

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