Eligible Survivor

Eligible Survivor

Who is Considered an “Eligible Survivor” for the Death Gratuity?

In this article, we will detail the qualifications to be classified as an “Eligible Survivor” for the Death Gratuity. In addition, we will list the payment hierarchy for the amount of the death gratuity not covered by a designation.

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (OSD Military Compensation) has provided the following information.  A service member may designate any person or persons.  The designee may to receive up to 100% of the Service Death Gratuity (in 10% increments).  Any remaining undesignated amount payable will be according to a new prescribed hierarchy.

The death gratuity was payable according to a specific hierarchy in the past (prior to 2008).  Prescribed by law.  Members had limited opportunity to designate a beneficiary.  

The New Beneficiary Hierarchy

Presently, the VA pays a new beneficiary hierarchy for the amount of the death gratuity not covered by a designation:

  1. The death gratuity goes to the surviving spouse of the person if any.  If a person has a spouse but designates a person other than the spouse to receive all or a portion of the amount payable, the Secretary of the Military Department shall provide notice of the designation to the spouse.
  2. In case of no surviving spouse, to any surviving children of the person and the descendants of any deceased children by representation.
  3. If there is none of the above, to the surviving parents of the person or the survivor of them. Additionally, if Parents include fathers and mothers through adoption. However, only one father and one mother may be recognized in any case. And preference shall be given to those who exercised a parental relationship on the date, or most nearly before the date, on which the decedent entered military service.
  4. Payment goes to the duly appointed executor or administrator of the estate of the person. Also if there is none of the above.
  5. The payment would go to other next of kin of the person entitled under the laws of the domicile of the person at the time of the person’s death. Additionally, if there is none of the above. 

A person entitled to all or a portion of a death gratuity may die before they receive the death gratuity.  The gratuity will be paid to the living survivor next in the order prescribed in the above list. If such is the case.

Change in Designation of Eligible Survivors

Members may designate eligible survivors, at any time by updating their DD Form 93, Record of Emergency Data.

This article is for educational and marketing purposes only.   Consequently, it does not create an attorney-client relationship.  So call Cameron Firm, PC at 800-861-7262 for TSGLI claim assistance. Because we are here to help you get the benefits you deserve.