The Department of Defense (DoD) is always trying to improve the way it helps the surviving family members of those who died while in military service. The Survivor’s Guide to Benefits gathers all the key information that a survivor might need to know to make the most of their benefits.
This guide is updated twice a year, and the most recent version was recently released. It has a section on each of the benefits, plus a fantastic list of additional resources at the end.
This guide is a good, basic guide, but it does not provide a lot of details on each subject. For example, it does not thoroughly explain how to calculate the amount of SBP that the survivor may receive. I understand that there are many variables that go into this, but I still think this is frustrating. That would be my first concern!
There are some omissions, such as the extension of the Marine Gunnery SGT. John D. Fry scholarship to eligible spouses. There are also unclear, or misleading bits, such as it’s explanation of the housing allowance benefits for surviving family members.
However, this guide is still a good place to start to learn about benefits, or to review benefits if you are already receiving them. I encourage every military family member to read through it at least once, to get an idea of what benefits are provided to surviving spouses and to help make informed decisions.