Estate Planning 101

Notifying a Military Pension Plans After a Loved One’s Passing

September 13, 2023

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The passing of a loved one is a difficult time, filled with grief and numerous responsibilities. Among them is the crucial task of notifying various organizations, such as a pension provider. If your loved one was a military veteran receiving a military pension, you'll need to inform the relevant authorities to stop payments and discuss possible survivor benefits.

Who Should Be Notified

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), which handles military pension plans, should be promptly informed of the death of a retiree. This is required to stop pension payments and prevent any overpayment issues.

When to Notify

It's crucial to notify the DFAS as soon as possible after the death of your loved one. This helps avoid any complications arising from overpayment of pension benefits.

How to Notify

You can report the death to DFAS by calling their customer service number at 1-800-321-1080. They will likely require a copy of the death certificate, so have this document ready.

What to Expect After Notification

Once DFAS is notified of the death, they'll end the retiree's pension payments. If the deceased had a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), the annuity will begin for the eligible beneficiary. DFAS will guide you through the process and provide you with any necessary forms and instructions.

Tips for Notification

When notifying DFAS, ensure you have relevant information, such as the deceased's Social Security number and the military service number, if available. Keep copies of all correspondence and note the dates and times of any phone calls for future reference.

Conclusion

While the loss of a loved one is an emotional and challenging time, notifying organizations like DFAS is a necessary step in settling their affairs. Understanding the process and what to expect can help make this task less daunting and ensure that all financial matters are handled correctly.

FAQ

Q: Can I notify DFAS online?
A: Yes, you can report a retiree's death online through the DFAS website using their 'AskDFAS' system.

Q: What if I can't find my loved one's military service number?
A: If you don't have the service number, DFAS should be able to locate the retiree's account using their full name and Social Security number.

Q: What happens to the pension after the retiree's death?
A: In most cases, the pension payments stop. If the retiree had an SBP, the annuity will start for the eligible beneficiary.