What to Do When a Military Veteran Dies

funeral homes in Rockford, ILAfter funerals at funeral homes in Rockford, IL, there is much to be done to get the affairs of a deceased loved one in order. But if your loved one was a member of the United States military, there may additional work that you will have to do to wrap up that side of their final affairs.

The first thing you’ll need to do is contact the Department of Defense. In some cases, if your loved one was a retired military member who was receiving retirement checks, you may be responsible for repaying the government for the retirement check received during the month of their death.

The Department of Defense has a very precise calculation for whether or not the last retirement check of a military retiree must be repaid. Military retirement pay is stopped as of the date the retired military veteran dies. The Department of Defense then recalculates the amount owed to the retired military veteran based on the number of days in the month that they were alive.

Therefore, if the military retirement check date was, for example, the 20th of every month, and your loved one died on the 10th of the following month, then you may owe the government the difference between the 10th and 20th of that month.

So, it’s imperative to call the Department of Defense at 800-321-1080 as soon as possible after your loved one dies. You will need your loved one’s social security number and their exact date of date.

Since retired military veterans are often eligible for many other services that may be managed by nonprofit organizations, state agencies, and federal agencies, it’s imperative that you have a list of all these that your loved one was receiving so that you can have services or payments suspended or life insurance claims made.

For example, one of the services offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs is the Aid & Attendance Benefit. This is an assisted living stipend that’s available for military veterans (and their spouses) who were on active duty during wartime. This would need to be stopped after the death of the military veteran or their spouse.

After you’ve notified the Department of Defense and any other agencies who were providing services or payments to your loved one, then you will need to plan the funeral. All military veterans who were honorably discharged are entitled to funeral benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

These include free burial in a national cemetery, a gravemarker, and an American flag for their casket. Your funeral director can work with the appropriate entities to arrange the services, but you will need to provide the funeral director with a copy – not the original – of your loved one’s military discharge orders (DD-214). This should be in with your loved one’s important papers.

If your loved one was using medical equipment that was issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs, you will need to contact the Prosthetics Department at your local VA hospital to request that those items be picked up.

Last, there are various grief support groups specifically for survivors who’ve lost a loved one who was a military veteran. There are some private Facebook groups, and there is a program called Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (available 24/7, 800-959-8277) that are good places to start.

For more information about veteran’s funerals at funeral homes in Rockford, IL, our compassionate and experienced team at Collins & Stone Funeral Home is here to help. You can visit our funeral home at 128 S 5th Street, Rockford, IL 61104, or you can call us today at (815) 965-1515.

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