Death benefits are available from the federal government to the families and dependents of U.S. military veterans. Most death benefits are the same whether or not the service member died while on active duty, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Death benefits, including monetary payments and insurance, are offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and Social Security Administration.
There is a VA Death Pension for the families of service members who serve and die during wartime; there are income requirements.
The Social Security Administration offers monetary benefits to survivors--full benefits at retirement age or reduced as early as age 60 for surviving spouses. There are also benefits for surviving spouses caring for children under age 16 and for dependent parents. Other benefits are as simple as providing military burial, complete with flag presentation and color guard, in national cemeteries.
Unmarried children under 18, or up to 19 if they are in high school, along with disabled children of any age also can receive death benefits from Social Security.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers information on death benefits specific to whether the service member died while on active duty or afterward. There may be some specific needs to address if the service member died while on active duty, such as assistance with handling media inquiries.