According to the Air Force Personnel Center's Casualty Matters Division, dependents of servicemembers who die not in the line of duty still receive elected coverage up to $400,000 from Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance. They also get a death gratuity of $100,000 and Social Security benefits on a monthly basis. However, based on the not in the line of duty determination, family members will endure the following:

  • No Survivor Benefit Plan payments. This is a monthly check, paid to a surviving dependent, that is equal to 55 percent of the retired pay base, which is retired pay computed for total disability if the death was in the line of duty.
  • No Veterans Administration Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits. These are monthly payments authorized for surviving spouses who have not remarried, unmarried children under age 18, disabled children, and unmarried children between the ages of 18 and 23 if attending a VA-approved school. These payments are not based on the member's pay grade. The current monthly payment for a spouse is $1,154 for life, as long as the spouse does not remarry. The amount paid for a spouse with one or more children of the deceased is increased for each child; the current monthly amount per child is $243. In cases where there is no spouse entitlement, a dependent child receives $488 per month (those figures increase if there is more than one child). Family members also may lose the Montgomery GI Bill Death Benefit, medical and dental benefits up to three years from the date of death of a member, and access to base facilities.
  • No Basic Educational Assistance Death Benefit. Certain survivors of deceased members entitled to basic educational assistance may be entitled to death benefits, which are jeopardized if there is a finding the member was not in the line of duty.
  • No Basic Allowance for Housing. This benefit allows eligible family members to receive Basic Allowance for Housing, Overseas Housing Allowance or continued occupancy in government housing for 180 days after the member's death. Unfortunately, Matthew and his mom, from the previous story, would not have received this benefit.