Military Retiree Casualty DOs and DON'Ts

military funeral honors in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery
Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), the U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own”, and the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment Caisson Platoon conduct military funeral honors in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., Jan. 25, 2022. (Elizabeth Fraser/U.S. Army)

When a military retire dies, the next of kin should call the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). DFAS will close the retiree's pay account and send a survivor benefits package. Typically, forms will be included that instruct the next of kin on how to return the retiree's unpaid pay. These forms MUST be completed and returned to DFAS with a copy of the death certificate.

Survivors should report retiree deaths as follows:

1. Report the death online at the DFAS website. You can also call DFAS at 800-321-1080. Please have the decedent's Social Security Number and the date of death when you call. 

2. Within 7-10 business days after reporting the death to DFAS, you should receive a letter containing the following documents:

  • SF1174, Claim for Unpaid Compensation of Deceased Member of the Uniformed Service
  • Annuity account forms and instructions (if the decedent was enrolled in the Survivor Benefit Plan)

3.  Complete the forms you received with your letter and return them with a copy of the retiree's Death Certificate that includes cause of death to:

Defense Finance and Accounting Service
U.S. Military Retired Pay
8899 E 56th Street

Indianapolis IN 46249-1200

Fax: 800-469-6559

For Coast Guard

Report the passing of a loved one via e-mail to or by phone at 866-772-8724, M - F 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. central time. 


  • Have retiree's full name.
  • Have retiree's Social Security Number.
  • Have retiree's date of death.
  • Have beneficiary name and relationship to deceased.
  • Have retiree's current address.
  • Notify Social Security Administration.
  • Return and cancel any payments received after the date of death.
  • Have a list of benefits to which beneficiaries are entitled.
  • Notify any Veterans' Service Organization (VSO) the veteran was a member of, or the local state or county Veteran's Service Office and request their assistance.


  • Don't use any retired payments received after date of retiree's death.
  • Don't return any retired payments that have been directly deposited to a bank account; DFAS will automatically reclaim the money that needs to be returned when you notify DFAS of the retiree's death.
  • Don't use any VA or Social Security payments issued after the date of death. A beneficiary can be required to pay any money back that was used after the date of death.

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