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Here some helpful items that you need to think about and complete within the first few months…download the printable version below

Note: Some items might not be applicable in all cases.

Banks, credit unions, and creditors

Contact banks and review any bank accounts and credit card statements.  Stop automatic withdrawals if necessary.  If you do not already have an individual bank account, then it's recommended since you will need to set up a direct deposit authorization for benefit payments.

Family Military ID Cards

Renew the family military IDs at the nearest military installation.

Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)

Choose an SBP annuity payment (taxable), which is payable to eligible dependents upon active-duty member's death being classified as in the line of duty (LOD). There are three options to choose from (Spouse Only, Child Only, and Spouse and Child).  Seek a local tax accountant since all options have tax implications.

VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

Contact your local Veterans Affairs to apply for DIC compensation.  This non-taxable payment is available to unmarried surviving spouses, children, and low- income parents of Marines who die while on active duty.  This process takes longer than anticipated since you need to first complete an intent to file with the VA to start the claim process.

Social Security Benefits

Contact your local Social Security to apply for Survivor benefit payments (non-taxable) which are payable to surviving spouse or child.  If you are unemployed or earn less than the specified annual amount that year then you are eligible for SS payments.

Tricare Medical Plan

Contact Tricare and since this is a Qualifying Life Event (QLE), you may change your Tricare coverage plan.  Coverage changes may be different for the surviving spouse and children.

Tricare Dental Plan (TDP)

Contact Tricare Dental.  Coverage and rate changes may be different for the surviving spouse and children.

Auto, Home, and Other Insurance

Inform all insurance companies since accounts will need to be either updated or closed.

File Income Tax Returns

File federal, state, and local income tax returns for the service member for the year in which your loved one died.  Military OneSource provides free tax-filing services for the military community.

Financial Counseling

Contact a financial counseling service listed on the financial tab for free advice on benefits and budget tracking.

Thrift Savings Plan

Similar to a 401K plan, this is a Federal Government sponsored retirement savings and investment plan.  If your service member contributed to this plan, then beneficiaries may roll over or receive a refund by submitting claim form and required documentation.

Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI)

The service member elects SGLI coverage up to a maximum of $400,000. SGLI is non-taxable and will be either paid to the beneficiary as a lump sum or 36 monthly payments.  See financial tab for counseling service.

Family Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (FSGLI)

As a spouse you have the choice to convert the FSGLI coverage to an individual policy to participating insurance companies.  If you have FSGLI coverage, you have 120 days from the date of the service member's death to convert.  See financial tab for counseling service.


Obtain a will for yourself.  Military installations with a Judge Advocate General (JAG) may provide a basic will free of charge.

Life Insurance

If you decline FSGLI then it's recommended to obtain an individual policy for yourself if you don’t already have one.  

Cell Phone Service

Call your cell phone service provider to cancel your loved one's line. 

Credit Reporting Agencies

Inform the three consumer reporting agencies of the death to create a credit freeze which will prevent anyone from opening a new account in the service member's name.,, and

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