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Defense Finance
and Accounting Service
Providing payment services of the U.S. Department of Defense
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What happens when you die

It is extremely important for someone to notify DFAS as soon as possible after you die.  Late notification of your death could result in burdensome consequences for your survivors, including delays in finalizing your account, paying your Arrears of Pay (AOP) and establishing a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity. 

Because your entitlement to retired pay ends on the date of your death, delayed reporting also could result in an overpayment that would be collected from your bank, your estate or one of your survivors, if that survivor receives any of your retired pay funds.

Instructions for Your Beneficiary

Please read our instructions for reporting the death of a military retiree. Print them out and give a copy to your Arrears of Pay (AOP) beneficiary.

After reporting your death, your AOP beneficiary will need to file a claim.  Please read our instructions for Applying for AOP.  Print them out and give a copy to your Arrears of Pay beneficiary.

If You Don't Designate a Beneficiary

When no beneficiary is named, the payment is made to the highest person in what is known as the "Order of Precedence." The Order or Precedence is the federally mandated order of inheritance that applies to legacies without a designated beneficiary.

Related Links:
Arrears of Pay Overview
Designate an AOP Beneficiary
Manage Your Beneficiary Designation

Order of Precedence

Page updated February 4, 2013.