Each person experiences grief differently when a loved one passes, but survivors should not feel confused about what to do next. VA professionals have gathered insights from Veterans, their families, caregivers and other stakeholders to identify the moments that matter to our Veterans’ survivors.

Using a human-centered design approach, VA experts make observations and use qualitative research methods to represent all perspectives to create journey maps and other useful tools, like the Quick Start Guide for Survivors to provide easier access to VA services and benefits. VA’s Survivor Journey Map is user-centered, putting the survivor at the center of policy, program and process decisions.

VA’s Office of Survivors Assistance was established by Public Law 110-389 Section 222 in October 2008 to support survivors and dependents of deceased Veterans and members of the Armed Forces.

The Survivor Journey Map ensures VA’s alignment with providing services that survivors need the most. The map highlights nine life stages that survivors may encounter, including preparing with caregiver services, memorializing with VA’s burial services, remembering their loved one, and continuing to cope with the loss of their family member and supporting their own mental health needs.

survivor journey map

The Survivor Journey Map ensures VA’s alignment with providing services that survivors need the most.

“With this project, we hoped to capture the survivor’s voice and then document their experiences. By better understanding the experience of survivors, the Office of Survivors Assistance hopes to expand our reach and improve the experience for all survivors,” said Ann Duff, director, Office of Survivor Assistance.

For information on VA’s Survivor Assistance, caregiver programs, and Geriatric Services, visit:

Bereavement Counseling – Vet Centers (Readjustment Counseling) (va.gov)

Assisting Families with Burial – National Cemetery Administration (va.gov)

Survivors’ And Dependents’ Educational Assistance | Veterans Affairs (va.gov)

CHAMPVA Benefits | Veterans Affairs

VA Caregiver Support Program Home

Geriatrics and Extended Care Home (va.gov)

By VAntage Point Contributor

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Published on Dec. 14, 2021

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