Each person experiences grief differently when a loved one passes, but survivors should not feel confused about what to do next. The Survivors Quick Start Guide provides Veteran family members and caregivers a reference guide for what to do next.


Part of VA’s Welcome Kit, the Survivors quick start guide begins with a step by step checklist for preparing, applying for, and following up on the available benefits. Each step spells out in plain language what to do, what forms to fill out, and who to call if you need help.

The Survivor Quick Start Guide Added to the VA Welcome Kit

The Survivor Quick Start Guide Added to the VA Welcome Kit

The guide also helps families identify VA Survivor benefits and services they may be eligible for.

“We hope this consolidated information helps clarify the process, streamline final arrangements and helps survivors focus on what should be done to ensure continuation of the Veteran’s earned benefits.” – Ann Duff, Director of VA’s Survivor Assistance Office.

Next, the quick start guide lists each of VA’s Survivor benefits and services. Including burial and internment, compensation, education, home loan and insurance benefits. It also highlights several counseling services available in one’s time of need.

The Survivor Quick Start Guide and VA Welcome Kit illustrate VA’s goal to not only serve Veterans, but their families as well.

Non-profit organizations such as Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) also compliments the benefits. TAPS supports the VA by providing comfort and care to all who are grieving the death of their Veteran. Additional support available at no cost through TAPS includes access to a 24/7 emotional support Helpline at 800.959.TAPS, casework assistance for additional financial support and resources, peer based emotional support for your grief, and connections to grief and trauma counseling and support groups.

“Your loved one stepped forward to serve their country, and now we are there for you with resources and services. The VA Survivor Benefits Guide and the Survivor Quick Start Guide are a wonderful resource for navigating VA Survivor benefits and services” – Bonnie Carroll, TAPS President and Founder

The frequently asked questions in the guide include topics such as, “How would a spouse or dependent know what survivor benefits they may be eligible for?” and “As a surviving spouse am I eligible for healthcare?”

Please visit va.gov/welcome-kit/ to download and print the Survivors Quick Start Guide as well as the VA Welcome Kit. Information on burial and memorial benefits can be found at va.gov/burials-memorials.

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Published on Sep. 26, 2019

Estimated reading time is 2.1 min.

Views to date: 506


  1. Lewis Carnes October 10, 2019 at 11:29 pm

    Good luck, to anyone trying to get there stuff. Took 3 weeks for the USMC to find my friends husband. Then 20 years to get DIC, because no one told her she could get it.

  2. Carl James Tanner October 8, 2019 at 9:38 am

    Please send me the survivors guide .
    Thank you very much

  3. CHITWOOD PEGGY A October 6, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    Please send me the survivor pamphlet.

  4. CHITWOOD PEGGY A October 6, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    Please send my the survivor benefit pamphlet.

  5. Lynn Borreggine October 3, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    How can I find out if I’m eligible for a military funeral & can I be buried in a veteran cemetery

  6. Javier Otero October 3, 2019 at 9:55 am

    Extremely helpful guide to claiming Survivor Benefits, thank you!

  7. Kathryn Holland October 3, 2019 at 9:08 am

    OK, thank you for this. I will read it thoroughly. I have a DIC Award (given too late to benefit my daughter with DEA) via Appeals Court, after Baltimore lost my paperwork twice and then my Form 1. There is an outstanding issue I have. One AFSC counselor, Jennifer Harlow, who now is with TAPS, gave me one piece (very good) Information but another denied that it would be applicable. I called Baltimore and was told, “if this was my account, I’d be sitting in the Baltimore office waiting for a response, because the refund due was/is so large” but that I needed to contact DFAS to get the %. DFAS told me to contact DVA myself because they have not received the % (disability, I assume, which was 80% for my husband). I contacted the White House Hotline and an excellent Buffalo counselor (she had tried to recover the education benefits, without success), this Jennifer Cassidy put me in contact with someone in DVA Baltimore, who first ignored my emails, then responded with her Director on the email, and Buffalo, telling JCassidy to use her “magic” to put me in contact with someone in Philadelphia since they are the ones to handle post-Appeals issues.
    This has been a tedious dance. I don’t know where to turn. I am glad DVA is working to change the environment and the lengthy processes but I still sit here waiting. I don’t know who else to call. My husband died June 18, 2006. I first filed July 2006. Kathryn Holland

  8. David D Leland October 3, 2019 at 8:35 am

    That’s VERY powerful picture of the Marine presenting our flag to the little girl. I tear up every time I see it. I downloaded a copy of this book to give to my wife in case she needs help, thanks.

  9. Marcia l woods October 3, 2019 at 5:22 am

    I wish this guide had been available months ago. I was not aware of the benefits I was entitled to after my husband passed away. As a result I lost approximately 16 months of benefits. I appealed the decision but was told these benefits were similar to social security; no one needs to be told about social security to apply. I was also told my ignorance of the system was no excuse for not applying for benefits. I cannot help but feel bitter about this matter.

  10. Raymond Almeida Sr October 2, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    My name is Raymond Almeida Sr and I am a 100% disabled veteran.I was wondering if you can send us the Survivor Benefits pamphlet or booklet,which will be a huge help for my wife when she has it necessary t5o use it/Thank You very much in advance for your help…………………Sincerely………Raymond Almeida Sr…

  11. Eric Grasman October 2, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    Good article Steve. I’m.curious. Is this picture from an actual funeral or is it actors? Is there a backstory? It’s a compelling photo.

  12. Ronald Hall September 29, 2019 at 9:32 am

    What a wonderful picture tribute.

  13. Mai-linhh Dean September 27, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    I’m a widow for almost 26yrs no health insurance

    • John Ramos September 27, 2019 at 5:58 pm

      have you applied for medicaid and or do you qualify for medicare? many resources available, to you, but you have to put forth te effort to inquire for assistance

  14. Phyno Songs September 26, 2019 at 9:07 am

    nice one

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