Magellan Federal/AFSC publishes an annual newsletter with the latest news on benefits for military families and survivors. The 2019 newsletter will be out soon.
Magellan Federal/AFSC is proud to provide the following information for veterans and surviving families. Use the links below for detailed information on each subject category.
Veterans and active duty service members are eligible for funeral and burial entitlements, including a gravesite at a national cemetery, an engraved headstone, a burial flag, and in some cases, financial assistance for funeral expenses. In many cases, spouses or dependents may also be eligible for this assistance. Options are also available for families who opt for cremation.
As a general rule, these benefits will only be made available if the family requests them. Upon the death of a veteran or active duty service member, the family or funeral director should contact the appropriate service or the Department of Veterans Affairs for assistance.
For Veterans: Funeral and burial programs are primarily administered by the National Cemetery Administration within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Details about funeral and burial benefits can be found online at www.cem.va.gov/. Veterans Benefits Counselors can also answer questions and confirm eligibility for burial benefits at 1-800-827-1000.
For Active Duty Service Members, National Guard Members, and Reservists:You can speak to the appropriate commanding officer for more information. Get your questions answered and receive assistance for funeral and burial process.
Reservists are eligible for numerous federal benefits and entitlements based upon their reserve component service. Benefits for Reservists resulting from their inactive duty for training usually include:
Benefits for Reservists on active duty for training or active duty usually include:
Members of the Retired Reserve under age 60 (not entitled to reserve retired pay until reaching age 60) are often referred to as Gray Area Retirees. These Gray Area Retirees are entitled to unlimited use of exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) facilities and commissaries.
Gray Area Retirees must have a valid military Reserve Identification Card. Eligible family members must have a Reserve Family Member ID Card. These cards are available at all military facilities that issue identification cards. Gray area Retirees who have not yet reached age 60 may now enroll in TRICARE Standard and pay a prescribed premium.
At age 60 and upon receiving retired pay, individuals must complete an application for Uniformed Services ID Card-DEERS Enrollment (DD Form 1172) to receive the Retired (blue) ID Card. You and your family members can become eligible for medical and dental care at military facilities (as provided by the installation); TRICARE programs; unlimited use of commissaries and exchanges; and unlimited space "A" travel.
Some useful links:
Service member's Group Life Insurance (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, the Public Health Service, cadets and midshipmen of the four service academies, and 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 the extra risks involved in 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 $.07 per $1,000 of insurance, regardless of the member's age. Details and instructions for enrollment are available online at:
Information about additional VA insurance programs can be found at:
Great peace of mind comes with the lifetime, inflation-adjusted monthly retired paycheck. But, retired pay stops when the retired member dies! Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) gives the survivors some peace of mind, by paying a service member's eligible survivors i.e.: (spouse, dependent children, or a former spouse) an inflation-adjusted monthly income. Basic SBP pays a benefit equal to 55 percent of retired pay for the spouse. To receive SPB benefits, service members must enroll and begin paying premiums for SBP upon retirement. AFSC counselors can help explain the benefits and enrollment process. . More information can be found online at:
Surviving spouses of veterans or active duty service members are eligible to receive many entitlements. However, it is important to understand that eligibility for these programs can change if the surviving spouse remarries.
Outlined below are military entitlements, changes upon remarriage and information about reinstatement of entitlements upon the loss of the second spouse.
|Entitlement during marriage to retiree and as a surviving spouse of a retiree or active duty death *||Effect on entitlement after loss of the second spouse|
|Medical care||Cannot be reinstated at military facilities|
|TRICARE||Cannot be reinstated|
|TRICARE for Life||Cannot be reinstated|
|CHAMPVA||Can be reinstated|
|PX & BX||Reinstated with new ID card|
|Commissary||Reinstated with new ID card|
|Military Theater||Reinstated with new ID card|
|Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, if applicable||Can be reinstated|
|Survivor Benefit Plan, if applicable||Can be reinstated|
|Military Legal Aid||Reinstated with new ID card|
|Military Special Services Program||Reinstated with new ID card|
|Military Burial Services||Can be reinstated|
*Remarriage of a surviving spouse terminates all entitlements, except:
The Social Security Administration provides retirement, disability, survivor, and medical benefits to individuals who pay Social Security taxes on their earnings. Since 1957, military personnel have been contributing participants in the Social Security program, with entitlement to all of its benefits. Contributions are automatically deducted from your paycheck; however, you must apply to receive benefits when you are disabled or retired. The following is a basic overview of Social Security benefits:
There are three methods to apply for social security benefits:
For retirement benefits, it is advisable to apply 2-3 months prior to the month in which you would like the benefit payments to begin. The Social Security Administration can provide current estimates for all your benefit entitlements.
If you meet the basic eligibility requirements, benefits are payable for disability incurred as a result of a serious accident or illness before reaching age 65 through age 67 (depending upon year of birth). Hence, if you become totally disabled, you can start drawing benefits at any age. In addition to drawing benefits on your own behalf, under some conditions dependents can also receive benefits. Medical proof must be submitted to show that you are unable to do any sort of substantial work for pay because of a physical or mental disability which must last, or be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.
In addition to your full military retired pay, you may be entitled to draw retirement benefits under Social Security after reaching age 62. However, benefits are reduced if you start drawing them before reaching your Full Retirement Age. Military retirement pay is a pension and not considered earned income (no FICA tax deduction withheld). Nor is military retired pay affected (decremented) when you begin drawing your social security retirement benefits!
Survivors eligible for benefits after your death are:
If your surviving spouse remarries prior to age 60, the benefits paid as your survivor may cease. Your children's benefits are not affected by the surviving spouse's remarriage even if their step-parents adopt them. State laws on the subject are followed by the Social Security Administration. 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.
Medicare under Social Security: One of the components of the Social Security program is the provision for health care, which covers persons age 65 or older and certain other individuals at younger ages. This protection is known as Medicare.
The coverage afforded under Medicare is divided in two parts. Part "A" covers the basic protection against the cost of hospitalization and related care. Part "B" coverage is voluntary and provides a measure of insurance to hedge against the cost of doctors' services as well as other items and services not covered under the basic protection afforded by Part "A."
Costs for Part "A" are financed as a part of the Social Security tax levied against those currently working and paying Federal Insurance Contribution Act FICA taxes. The cost for Part "B" insurance is your responsibility on a voluntary basis. Part "B" premiums vary according to marital status and adjusted gross income.
As a general recommendation, AFSC encourages enrollment in Part "B" at age 65. Since TRICARE (Prime, Standard, or Extra) protection terminates at age 65 for both the retirees and their eligible spouses, it is essential to enroll in Medicare Part "B" in order to participate in the new TRICARE For Life (TFL), which acts as a Medicare Supplement insurance plan. See detailed information on TFL on this web site.
If you are still working beyond age 65 and are covered by an employer's health plan, or you are covered under your spouse's employer health plan, you do not need to enroll in Medicare Part "B" at age 65. However, when you or your spouse terminate employment and and or lose the employer sponsored health coverage, you must enroll in Part "B" to avoid paying the late enrollment penalty.
Medicare Part "A" and "B" provide medical coverage for most of your medical needs with some limitations. . Additional protection can be purchased in the form of Medicare Supplemental Insurance plan, also called "Medigap" insurance, to assist with expenses not covered by Medicare. With the passage of recent legislation creating the new TRICARE For Life program, the need for Medigap insurance is lessened. Certain circumstances, however, make having a supplemental plan desirable, such as frequent or extended overseas visits where Medicare is of little use.
If warranted, supplemental plans are available from a number of commercial insurers or from several military associations who provide health supplement coverage at reasonable premiums for their members.
The following are some of the benefits that fall under the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Claims: AFSC assists the survivors of deceased members in preparing and proving pension or compensation and other government claims. For this reason, every member should file evidence of marriage (including proof of termination of any previous marriages by either spouse) and proof of date of birth of minor children at the AFSC office. AFSC prepares and files the necessary claim forms and follows the claims through to completion, assisting with appeals when necessary. Below is a list of some of the possible VA benefits for which you could be eligible.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC): Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is paid to a veteran's survivors when a service-connected injury or disease is the cause of death or when a deceased veteran is rated totally disabled by the VA for 10 years prior to his death, or five years immediately after separation. -. Proving service-connected injury is frequently difficult and often impossible. AFSC personnel are knowledgeable and thorough in evaluating the necessary proof and will assist the member or the surviving family in filing the claims paperwork. More information can be found online at http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/dependents/index.htm
Disability Determination by the VA: Upon military retirement, you should seriously consider filing a request with the VA for determination as to whether you have a service-related physical disability. The VA will have you examined at one of their medical facilities, review your military medical records, and determine if such a disability does exist. If appropriate, 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. Those who have a service-connected disability regarded as such in accordance with the VA medical guidelines may apply to the agency for re-evaluation in later years if the condition has worsened. This action could result in an increase in the amount of compensation being paid.
Educational Assistance: Educational Benefits are available from the VA under the Dependents' Educational Assistance Program 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 under the Program in the amount of $936 per month (effective Oct 2010 - Sept 2011) for full-time attendance (the amount is reduced for less than full time attendance) for a maximum of 45 school months. Educational 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 date of parent's death or the date the disability was determined to be total and permanent.
Spouses are also eligible for these educational benefits essentially under the same conditions outlined above. The period of eligibility for a spouse or surviving spouse who hasn't 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 online at http://www.gibill.va.gov/pamphlets/CH35/CH35_Pamphlet_General.htm
VA Outpatient Dental Treatment: Veterans whose dental condition or disabilities are service-connected but not compensable in degree, and which are shown to have been in existence at discharge or release from active service, must apply to the VA for outpatient dental care within 90 days of separation. Dental treatment is only available if it is not provided by the military within 90 days prior to separation.
Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI): 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 online at
TSGLI is an entitlement that Wounded Warriors may receive if they are covered by Service members' Group Life Insurance (SGLI), and if they sustain an injury that results in certain severe losses, such as loss of a leg or an arm. All active members of the uniformed services that have part-time or full-time SGLI are automatically covered by TSGLI.
TSGLI coverage pays a benefit ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 depending on eligibility and the severity of the loss resulting from traumatic injury. TSGLI is not available to spouses and children covered under Family SGLI.
For more information contact the Office of SGLI by phone
at 1-800-419-1473, or visit the TSGLI website
There are thousands of websites and organizations providing information and support to military families. CLICK HERE for an alphabetical directory to locate valuable services.
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