TAPS Casework Assistance Available to Military Survivors During Government Shutdown

Author: TAPS

TAPS as a non-profit unaffiliated with the government remains open in event of any shutdown. We are here for any survivors with questions about benefits and in need of resource connections. 

With a government shutdown, there is no way for the government to pay the death gratuity ($100,000) benefit. This benefit is typically used to cover family expenses after a service member dies and funds funeral-related costs not covered by the government. The death gratuity is often viewed as "bridge money" to ensure the family has funds available before ongoing survivor benefits are put in place. 

Service members Group Life Insurance (SGLI), typically a $400,000 benefit, will be paid to a new beneficiary. This typically takes about a week following a death.

Government-funded travel for surviving family members to attend the dignified transfer ceremony at Dover Air Force Base, unit memorials, or funerals may not be paid during the shutdown. Funeral benefits that are typically provided by the government for active-duty deaths may not be paid either.  

The Social Security Administration may not be able to process claims for new benefits, so the newly-bereaved would have to wait until after a government shutdown ends, potentially, for a new social security claim for benefits to be processed.

Families choosing to inter their loved ones at national cemeteries managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may have to wait longer for burial or inurnment. 

Arlington National Cemetery should continue to follow its set funeral schedule (which is often planned months in advance). 

Please contact TAPS Casework team if you or a family you know are in need of emergency assistance due to the government shut down.  Call us toll free 24/7 on the TAPS National Military Survivor Helpline at 1-800-959-8277 or contact TAPS Casework Program at casework@taps.org.