In addition to the honor of serving your country, being a member of the US Armed Forces comes with many benefits and programs of interest to you and your family. Make sure you and your family are familiar with all the benefits to which you are entitled. Below is a brief listing of some of the Military benefits for which you may be eligible.
SGLI is a low cost group Life Insurance program for:
- Service members on active duty
- Ready Reservists
- Members of the National Guard
- Members of the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- Public Health Service
- Cadets and midshipmen of the four service academies
- Members of the Reserve Officer Training Corps
SGLI is administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs and exists to provide insurance benefits for Veterans and service members who may not be able to get insurance from private companies because of their Military service, or a service connected disability.
SGLI coverage is available in $50,000 increments up to the maximum of $400,000. SGLI premiums are currently $.065 per $1,000 of insurance, regardless of the member's age.
More information can be found here.
VGLI is a five-year renewable term plan available to all members who are retired, separated, or released from active duty. Reservists who are injured while performing active duty are also eligible. VGLI may be issued in multiples of $10,000 to a maximum of $400,000. VGLI is not issued in excess of the amount of SGLI carried at the time of separation from service.
Complete information about VGLI is available here.
TSGLI is included with every service member’s SGLI as a rider to their Life Insurance coverage. The TSGLI rider provides for payment to service members who are severely injured (on or off duty) as the result of a traumatic event and suffer a loss that qualifies for payment under TSGLI.
TSGLI payments are designed to help traumatically injured service members and their families with financial burdens associated with recovering from a severe injury. TSGLI payments range from $25,000 to $100,000 based on the qualifying loss suffered.
TSGLI coverage will pay a benefit of between $25,000 and $100,000 depending on the loss directly resulting from the traumatic injury.
Every member who has SGLI also has TSGLI effective December 1, 2005.
More information including a list of the TSGLI Schedule of Losses is available here.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense provide several memorial and burial services for eligible active-duty, Reserve, Guard, retired and Veteran members.
As a service member or Military family member you should be aware of your memorial benefits before you need them. More information can be found on our Helpful Links page .
One of the benefits of retiring from the Military is retired pay. During your lifetime as a retiree, you receive a continued stream of income, in addition to any second career pay you may receive with a civilian job after retiring from the service. However, that retirement pay ends when you pass away. The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) can be used to help make up for a part of that lost income to your surviving Spouse. Additionally, this benefit provides your eligible survivor an inflation-adjusted monthly income.
Premiums for SBP must be paid by the retiree out of retired pay. Basic SBP for a Spouse pays a benefit equal to 55% of your retired pay. Eligible children may also be SBP beneficiaries. You may choose coverage for a former Spouse or, if you have no Spouse or children, you may be able to cover an “insurable interest."
More information about SBP can be found here.
Social Security provides retirement, disability, survivor, and medical benefits to individuals who pay Social Security taxes on their earnings. Military members started paying Social Security taxes in 1957 and these taxes are automatically deducted from your paycheck. To receive the benefits you must apply. The application process has become more user friendly over the past few years.
You can apply for Social Security benefit in the following ways:
Call the toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213
- Visit your local Social Security Office in person
- Apply on-line at www.ssa.gov
For retirement benefits, you will need to apply 2-3 months prior to the month in which you want the benefit payments to begin. The Social Security Administration will mail you a yearly estimate of all your benefit entitlements. If you can’t locate a copy, check here.
If you meet eligibility requirements, benefits are payable before reaching full Social Security retirement age (age 65 through age 67 depending upon year of birth). In addition to drawing your benefits, under some conditions your Spouse and children can also receive benefits. Medical proof showing that you’re unable to do any sort of substantial work for pay due to a physical or mental disability which must last, or be expected to last, for at least 12 months or result in death must be provided for approval of benefits.
Social Security retirement benefits can start as early as age 62. However, benefits are reduced if you start receiving benefits before reaching your Full Retirement Age.
The following people receive Survivor Benefits:
Spouses age 60 or later
- Spouses caring for your minor children and they are entitled to Social Security Benefits (at any age)
- Disabled Spouses who provide the requirements by the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare
- Unmarried dependent children under 18 and those who are 18 or over who have become disabled prior to age 18
- Unmarried dependent disabled child who is 18 or over who have become disabled prior to age 18
- Dependent parents age 62 or over receiving more than 1/2 of their support from you at the time of your death
- Unmarried surviving divorced Spouse whose marriage lasted at least 10 years before your divorce. He/she must be at least age 62, or have your child under 16 years of age
Surviving Spouses who remarry prior to age 60 may have their benefits stopped. Children’s benefits are not affected even if their step-parents adopt them. The Social Security Administration will follow State laws on this subject. When there is a current and a former (unmarried) Spouse both caring for the children or step-children that are entitled to benefits, the benefits will be divided equally.
Another component of Social Security is Medicare. Medicare covers people age 65 and older and under some conditions younger individuals.
The Medicare coverage has two parts:
Covers the basic cost of hospitalization and related care
- No costs to the retiree
- Cost are paid as a part of the Social Security tax of those currently working and Federal Insurance Contribution Act FICA taxes
Coverage is voluntary and covers most of the costs for services provided by doctors as well as other items and services not covered under Part A
- Costs are your responsibility
- Premiums are based on marital status and adjusted gross income
- You must enroll in Part B to participate in TRICARE for life (this acts as your Medicare Supplemental insurance plan)
- When you and/or your Spouse no longer have employer sponsored health coverage, you must enroll to avoid paying a late enrollment penalty
At age 65, AAFMAA recommends enrollment in both Part A and B because TRICARE (Prime, Standard, or Extra) protection terminates at age 65 for both the retirees.
For those working beyond age 65 who are covered by their employer's health plan, or by their Spouse's employer health plan, don’t need to enroll in Medicare Part "B" at age 65.
Most of your medical needs will be covered using Medicare Part A and B. To assist with expenses not covered by Part A and B you can purchase supplemental Medigap insurance. Retired Military are covered by TRICARE for Life. TRICARE for Life reduces the need for Medigap insurance.
For additional supplemental coverage, Medigap plans are available from a number of commercial insurance companies and from several Military associations at reasonable rates. Medigap plans have various levels of coverage. Please take your time when selecting the right plan.
Benefits the Department of Veterans Affairs include:
AAFMAA Financial Advisors assist the survivors of deceased AAFMAA members in preparing and proving pension or compensation and other Government claims. To assist in this process, every member should provide evidence of marriage (including any divorce information on either the member or current Spouse) and proof of date of birth of minor children to AAFMAA Financial Advisors. We’ll prepare and file the necessary claim forms and follow the claims through to completion, assisting with appeals if/when necessary. Below are some of the VA benefits for which you could be eligible:
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
DIC is paid to a Veteran's survivors when
A service-connected injury or disease is the cause of death
A deceased Veteran is rated totally disabled by the VA for 10 years prior to death
Five years immediately after separation
More information can be found here.
Disability Determination by the VA
Upon retirement from the Military, you may want to consider filing a request with the VA for determination as to whether you have a service-related disability. The VA will have you examined, review your Military medical records, and determine if such a disability exists. If appropriate, the VA will award you compensation with a permit waiving an equal amount of retired pay in exchange for the same number of tax-free dollars of VA compensation. Re-evaluation in later years may be appropriate if the condition has worsened. This could result in an increased amount of compensation being paid.
Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program
The Dependents' Educational Assistance Program offers benefits to children of Veterans who died of service-connected causes or who are permanently and totally disabled as a result of service-connected disability.
Eligible children may receive this educational assistance in the amount of $925 per month (effective Oct 2009 - Sept 2010) for full-time attendance, for a maximum of 45 school months. The amount is reduced for less than full time attendance. This assistance is normally available to students ages 18 to 26. If death or disability of the parent occurs after the child's 18th birthday, but before the 26th birthday, the period of eligibility runs for 8 years (or until age 31) from the date of parent's death or the date the disability was determined to be total and permanent.
Spouses are also eligible for educational benefits under the same conditions outlined above. The period of eligibility for a Spouse or surviving Spouse who has not remarried extends to 20 years from the date the Veteran was first found to have a service-connected total and or permanent disability, or from the date of service-connected death.
More information can be found here.
TRICARE is the health care program serving active duty service members, National Guard and Reserve members, retirees, their families, survivors and certain former Spouses worldwide. As a major component of the Military Health System, TRICARE brings together the health care resources of the uniformed services and supplements them with networks of civilian health care professionals, institutions, pharmacies and suppliers to provide access to high-quality health care services while maintaining the capability to support Military operations.
To be eligible for TRICARE benefits, you must be registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. TRICARE offers several health plan options to meet the needs of its beneficiary population. Additionally, TRICARE offers two dental plans and several additional special programs.
More information can be found here.
The children of Military personnel who died in the line of duty since September 11, 2001 can apply for an educational scholarship. The scholarship, administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, is named after Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry who died in Iraq in 2006.
The VA began accepting applications for the Fry scholarship on May 1, 2010.
For more information or assistance applying, call toll-free 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) or visit the VA GI Bill Website at www.gibill.va.gov.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has added three illnesses to the list of Agent Orange related Conditions:
B cell leukemia’s
Ischemic heart disease
VA now accepts claims for service connection for the new conditions.
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) [link to http://www.dfas.mil/] uses the Designation of Beneficiary Form [link to PDF form] to determine who will receive a retiree's final prorated paycheck - also known as Arrears of Pay (AOP) -upon death. For example, if a retiree dies on the 5th day of the month, the designated beneficiary will receive 5 days worth of retired pay. In addition to retired pay, AOP may include other monies owed but not paid during the retiree's lifetime, such as a credit for SBP overpayment or returned allotment payments.
If you are a Military retiree, you should complete the Beneficiary Form [link to Beneficiary Form PDF] when your family circumstances change due to marriage, divorce, etc., or if you simply wish to change your current beneficiary. It’s also important to complete the form if the remarks section of your Retiree Account Statement (RAS) states "We do not have any beneficiary information on file on your computerized pay account." Note that completed forms must be received by DFAS before the retiree's death to be considered valid.”
Most of the fields are self-explanatory. Note, however, that Section 2 (Designated Beneficiary Information) allows you to share your AOP with up to five beneficiaries. You may designate a portioned distribution or establish an order of precedence. To designate two or more beneficiaries, complete each subsection (name, SSN, relationship and address), then designate the percentage of AOP each beneficiary is to receive (such as 60 percent) in the corresponding "Share" field. The total of the "Share" column cannot exceed 100 percent. To establish a beneficiary order of precedence, complete Section 2 with the primary beneficiary listed first, and designate each beneficiary to receive 100 percent in the "Share" column. Note that anyone can be designated as a beneficiary, from family members to friends and associates. Forms must be signed and dated to be considered valid.
Retirees who do not specifically designate beneficiaries will have their AOP distributed in accordance with the Federally-Mandated Order of Precedence. Under this process, AOP would be paid in order to a Spouse, natural or adopted children, grandchildren, etc.
Note: Stepchildren are not eligible beneficiaries for AOP in accordance with the Federally-Mandated Order of Precedence. Therefore, in order for a stepchild to receive a portion of AOP, the retiree must complete this form to designate each beneficiary.
Fax the completed form to (800) 469-6559 or mail the form to:
Defense Finance and Accounting Service
U.S. Military Retirement Pay
P.O. Box 7130
London, KY 40742-7130
CRSC and CRDP are two compensation programs for disabled retirees designed to reduce the offsets to Retirement Pay from VA Disability Compensation.
Retirees cannot receive both CRSC and CRDP and must elect one each year through an annual “program election.” When making the decision between CRSC and CRDP, please note the following characteristics of each:
|Full Concurrent Receipt
No - 10 Year Phase In (2014)
Required VA Disability Rating:
VA Individual Unemployment (IU) Eligible
3 Yr. Phase in (2009)
Yes - DD 2860
No - Automatic
Type of Disability