Widow Wonders Where Payments Have Gone

Hand holding cash.

Lots of email lately…and some common questions come up again and again. The following is a composite of several different questions.

“Dear Kate,

I moved after my husband passed away. I sent in direct deposit forms for my new checking account, but I have not received any deposits. Could you help me with this matter?

Mrs. Johnson”

Well, this is one of those questions that seems simple, but is not.

“Dear Mrs. Johnson,

Unfortunately, I can not help anyone directly. I can help point you in the right direction.

There are three different types of benefits for which widows/widowers of veterans or retirees may be eligible.

Social Security

While not related to the military, many people are eligible for various benefits administered by the Social Security Administration. This includes age-based benefits available to older workers and their surviving spouses. If you are looking for information about your Social Security Benefits, you can call or visit your local Social Security office or use the Social Security website at http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/.

Department of Veterans Affairs

Disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) do not continue after the veteran’s death. There are certain programs for the survivors of veterans, and each has different qualifications. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a payment made to certain survivors of some disabled veterans. You can learn more about it here: http://benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/types-dependency_and_indemnity.asp.

Military Pension

A military pension ends with the death of the retiree. If your husband was a military retiree, he may have selected to have elected Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) coverage to provide income following his death. SBP an annuity similar to life insurance. If you think you may be covered by SBP, contact the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) to verify your coverage and obtain instructions for applying for SBP. More information and contact details can be found at the Military Retirees and Annuitants section of the DFAS website at http://www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary.html.

Each type of benefit has different enrollment/application procedures, and each type of benefit has a different way of changing direct deposit information.  Sometimes keeping the different benefits straight can be challenging.  If you have questions about your benefits or need some help, ask a savvy family member or friend, or seek out a Veterans Service Officer through your county or local veterans association (such as the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars.)

I hope that helps!


About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.