Member Designated Benefits: Think and Act

November 28, 2011 | Kate Horrell

The Department of Defense has recently published an updated list of benefits that service members are permitted to assign to anyone, regardless of their relationship.  The list has been compiled as part of a benefits review initiated after the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but these benefits are available to all service members.

Benefits are a large part of the overall military compensation package.  You need to learn about each benefit and make an educated and thoughtful decision before designating a beneficiary.  You may (usually) designate different beneficiaries for different benefits.

Service Members Group Life Insurance beneficiary

  • is paid in the event of the death of the servicemember,
  • form SGLV 8286 and submit it to your personnel or payroll office,
  • may designate multiple beneficiaries,
  • may designate some details of payment;

Post Vietnam-era Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP, Chapter 32) beneficiary

  • this means you may designate a beneficiary to receive your investment in the VEAP program in the event that you die,
  • it appears that it must be the same person that is designated as the SGLI beneficiary, this may be why I can not locate a  separate form;

Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30) – Active Duty Death Benefit beneficiary

  • this is the refund of unused payments made into the Montgomery GI Bill,
  • the refund is made to a designated beneficiary in the event of the death of the active duty service member.
  • it appears that it must be the same person that is designated as the SGLI beneficiary, this may be why I can not locate a separate form;

Death Gratuity beneficiary

  • this is different from SGLI,
  • it is a one-time, $100,000 payment made upon the death of an active duty servicemember,
  • may designate to multiple beneficiaries,
  • designation is listed on servicemember’s Record of Emergency Data (DD93)
  • submit updated DD93 to personnel office;

Final Settlement of Accounts

  • this is the payment of unpaid pay and allowances,
  • may designate to multiple beneficiaries,
  • designation is listed on servicemember’s Record of Emergency Data (DD93)
  • submit updated DD93 to personnel office;

Wounded Warrior Designated Caregiver;

Thrift Savings Plan beneficiary

Survivor Benefit for retirees

  • if you have no dependent children or legal opposite-sex spouse, you may be able to designate an “insurable interest” to benefit from your Survivor Benefit Plan,
  • you will make the required contributions,
  • there is a slightly different formula for calculating premiums if the beneficiary is more than 5 years younger than the servicemember,
  • as far as I can tell, this must be elected at retirement,
  • unlike other SBP categories, you may terminate this coverage at any time;

Casualty Notification

  • this means that the person would be notified in the event of a servicemember casualty,
  • this is designated on the servicemember’s Record of Emergency Data (DD93),
  • under current law, notification must happen to legal next-of-kin before designated persons;

Escorts for Dependents of Deceased or Missing;

Designation of Persons Having Interest in Status of a Missing Member

  • this means that the person would be notified in the event of a servicemember casualty,
  • this is designated on the servicemember’s Record of Emergency Data (DD93),
  • under current law, notification must happen to legal next-of-kin before designated persons;

Veterans’ Group Life Insurance beneficiary

  • is paid in the event of the death of the servicemember,
  • form SGLV 8286 and submit it to your personnel or payroll office,
  • may designate multiple beneficiaries,
  • may designate some details of payment;

Person Eligible to Receive Effects of Deceased Persons; and

Travel and Transportation Allowance for attendance at Yellow Ribbon Reintegration events

  • this applies to National Guard and Reserve members who are mobilized,
  • contact your unit’s Yellow Ribbon contact for more information;

I know there is a lot more information available somewhere, but I’ve been researching this for days and I fear that it is never going to get published.  I will update with more information as it becomes available.

The National Military Family Association has been fielding questions from its members regarding these and similar topics.  One issue that has come up regularly is the role of non-spouses as designated caregivers for children of servicemembers.  For many years, the military has had guidelines for single parents on active duty, and those guidelines have outlined the ways in which a servicemember may designate any person to be a primary caregiver for the servicemember’s child.  In addition, local base regulations regarding servicemembers, children and caregivers may allow a designated caregiver to reside in quarters with the children.

If you have additional information that will benefit all military members, please let me know.