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From Chuck Weber, your Veteran Service Officer...
Veteran-Retiree Survivor Checklist

This checklist is designed to provide veterans and retirees and their loved ones with some help in preparing for the future. The following information is not all-inclusive and should be used with other estate planning tools to lessen trauma to your loved ones.  Add or delete items as appropriate to your situation.



1. Create a military file.

__ Retirement orders

__ DD 214

__ Separation papers

__ Medical records


2. Create a military retired/veteran pay file.

__ Claim number of any pending VA claims

__ Annual VA disability/pension compensation statement

__ Address of the VA office being used

__ List of current deductions from benefits

__ Name, relationship, and address of beneficiary of unpaid retired pay/veteran pay at      

     the time of death

__ Address and phone number for DFAS:  8899 East 56th St. Indianapolis, IN 46249

     Tel: (888) 332-7411


3. Create an annuities file, to include:

__ Information about the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) Additional information regarding

     SBP annuity claims can be obtained from the DFAS-Cleveland Center office at


__ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)

__ Retired Serviceman's Family Protection Plan (RSFPP)

__ Civil Service annuity


4. Create a personal document file.

__ Birth Certificate

__ Marriage Records

__ Divorce decree

__ Adoptions and naturalization papers


5. Create an income tax file. 

__ Copies of state and federal income tax returns


6. Create a property tax file.

__ Copies of tax bills

__ Deeds and any other related information.


7. Create an insurance policy file.

__ Life Insurance

__ Property, accident, liability insurance

__ Hospitalization/Medical Insurance



8. Maintain a listing of banking and credit information, in a secure location.

__ Bank account numbers

__ Location of all deposit boxes

__ Savings bond information

__ Stocks, bonds and any securities owned

__ Credit/debit card account numbers and mailing addresses


9.  Maintain a membership listing of all associations and organizations.

__ Organization names and phone numbers

__ Membership fee information

__ Many of these have insurance programs


10. Maintain a list of all friends, business associates, and attorneys 

__ Include names, addresses and phone numbers


11. Hold discussions with your next of kin about your wishes for burial and funeral services.  At a minimum the discussion should include cemetery location and type of burial (ground, cremation or burial at sea).  This knowledge may assist your next of kin in carrying out all of your desires.


12.  You could also pre-arrange your funeral services via your local funeral home. Many states will allow you to pre-pay for services.  Use a qualified Funeral Director.


13. Investigate the decisions that you and your family have agreed upon. Many states have specific laws and guidelines regulating cremation and burials at sea. Some states require a letter of authority signed by the deceased in order to authorize a cremation. Know the laws in your specific area and how they may affect your decisions. Information regarding Burials at Sea can be obtained by phoning Navy Mortuary Affairs at (866) 787-0081.


14. Once your decisions have been made and you are comfortable with them, have a will drawn up outlining specifics.


15. Ensure that your will and all other sensitive documents are maintained in a secure location known by your loved ones.





Organizations to be notified in the event of a retiree death:


1.  Defense Finance and Accounting Service, London, KY (if appl.) Tel:  (888) 332-7411

2. Social Security Administration (for death benefits)  Tel:  (800) 772-1213

3.  Department of Veterans Affairs (if applicable) Tel:  (800) 827-1000

4.  Office of Personnel Management (OPM) (US civil service) Tel:  (724) 794-8690

5. Any fraternal group that you have membership with: e.g., TAL, DAV, AMVETS, FRA,   


6.  Any previous employers that provide pension or benefits.


VA burial benefits and memorial items


VA burial benefits can help service members, Veterans, and their family members plan and pay for a burial or memorial service in a VA national cemetery. Family members can also order memorial items to honor the service of a Veteran. Find out how to apply for the burial benefits you've earned, and how to plan for a burial in advance or at time of need on this page VA Burial Benefits And Memorial Items | Veterans Affairs


Info you will find on the VA website includes:

         Eligibility  right-arrow

Find out if you qualify for burial in a VA national cemetery and for other burial honors.

         Pre-need burial eligibility determination  right-arrow

Apply for a pre-need eligibility decision letter. This can help you pre-plan for burial in a VA national cemetery, and make the process easier for your family members in their time of need.

         Veterans burial allowance  right-arrow

Learn how to apply for a burial allowance to help pay for a Veteran's funeral services, burial, and transportation costs.

         Memorial items  right-arrow

Find out how to apply for grave markers, headstones, Presidential Memorial Certificates, and other memorial items to honor a Veteran's service.

         Benefits for spouse and dependents (VA DIC)  right-arrow

Learn about getting VA disability benefits for a surviving spouse or a dependent child or parent.

         Bereavement counseling  right-arrow

See if you qualify for grief counseling and transition support after the loss of an active-duty Servicemember, Reservist, or National Guard Soldier.

Plan a burial

         Schedule a burial for a Veteran or family member  right-arrow

Get step-by-step guidance on how to request and apply for a burial in a VA national cemetery, or in a state or tribal government Veterans cemetery.

         Find a national, state, or tribal government Veterans cemetery  right-arrow

Search for national, state, or tribal government Veterans cemeteries.

         Request military records (DD214)  right-arrow

View and print documents from your official military personnel file (including your DD214).

More information and resources

         VA national cemetery daily burial schedule  right-arrow

Find the date, time, and location of the committal service for the scheduled burial of a Veteran, spouse, or other eligible family member.

         VA survivor benefits rates (VA DIC)  right-arrow

View current dependency and indemnity compensation rates for surviving spouses and children.

         Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) rates  right-arrow

         Replace medals, awards, and decorations  right-arrow

Visit the National Archives website to find out how to request replacement medals, awards, and decorations.

         Search historical military records (National Archives)  right-arrow

Visit the National Archives website to research military records from the Revolutionary War to the present.

         Veteran grave locator  right-arrow

Find a Veteran's or family member's grave in a VA national cemetery, or in a state or tribal Veterans cemetery.

         VA burial benefits FAQ  right-arrow

Find answers to common questions about VA burial benefits and memorial items.

         What to expect at a military funeral  right-arrow

Prepare for a military funeral by learning about what happens at a committal service in a VA national cemetery.


         VA Survivors Pension

Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply for VA pension benefits as a surviving spouse or child of a deceased Veteran with wartime service.


         Beneficiary financial counseling and online will preparation

If you're enrolled in VA life insurance, find out if you can get free financial planning and online will preparation services.


         Fiduciary services

Learn how to become a VA fiduciary to handle the financial affairs of a Veteran in need.


         Other VA benefits and services

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