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Military Life Insurance: Reporting the Death of a Veteran

What does a grieving family need to do in order to report the death of a military member to the Department of Veterans Affairs and private life insurance providers? There are a number of documents to gather, copy, and submit. Never send original documents to the VA or a third-party agency, you’ll need the originals for future reference.

Reporting the Death of a Veteran

Survivors of veterans and/or their legal representation should contact the Department of Veterans Affairs and any applicable private military life insurance providers as soon as possible if the veteran who has died.

Contact the VA by phone, by mail, or in person. Notify your private insurer in the manner that company requires. Note that you may be asked to provide specific notification in a proscribed manner in order to collect private military life insurance benefits.

It pays to know this procedure (which may vary depending on the company) well in advance, as some insurers may not settle claims without the beneficiary following a specific set of steps to file a claim.

Read more: Comprehensive Military Life Insurance Guide

What to Know About Reporting the Death of a Veteran

Notify the VA and your private insurer immediately. The VA requires quick notification to avoid overpaying VA benefits and subsequently having to request those funds be paid back due to the veteran’s death. If you receive benefits of any kind from a private insurance policy when the veteran was still living, the same issues may apply.

Documents Needed to Report a Veteran’s Death

For private insurers, the requirement may vary but there are some documents all agencies will need, such as a death certificate, military death certificate where applicable, surviving spouses should expect to be asked for a marriage certificate, any applicable divorce decrees, and related documents.

For reporting a veteran’s death to the Department of Veterans Affairs, expect to be asked for the following information:

    • Veteran’s full name
    • Social Security number
    • VA claim number
    • Date of birth
    • Date of death
    • Branch of service

Depending on circumstances you may also be asked for:

    • DD form 214
    • Marriage certificate
    • Any applicable divorce decrees
    • Death Certificate
    • VA award letter
    • VA rating decision where applicable
    • Recent military retirement pay statement

You will need any applicable policy numbers and policy statements when reporting the veteran’s death to a private insurer.

Remember that military life insurance from the VA may have different requirements and procedures than third-party private insurers, you should know the policies for both before you need to submit a claim.

Read more: Military Life Insurance and End-of-Life Planning


When Reporting a Death by Mail to the VA

If you need to report a veteran’s death using physical mail, be sure to include a cover letter explaining your relationship to the veteran. Be sure to include copies of any documentation that can support your letter such as a marriage certificate, death certificate, etc. Send that information to the VA at:

Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444

It may take the VA longer to stop benefit payments for veterans who have died when reporting by mail.

Other Military Life Insurance-Related Resources You Should Know About

If you must claim death benefits from the VA or a private insurer, you may qualify for other VA benefits related to the death of the veteran.

The VA official site advises qualifying dependents of servicemembers who died in the line of duty or from a service-connected medical issue may qualify for VA benefits such as  Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), the VA Survivor’s Pension, a VA Burial Allowance and other assistance.

Contact the Department of Veterans Affairs directly at their toll-free number, 1-800-827-1000 for assistance with these or other VA benefits.

Related: Ultimate Military Benefits Guide




About the author

Editor-in-Chief | + posts

Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.