THE AVACARE MEDICAL INITIATIVE

At AvaCare Medical, we know that America is the land of the free because of the brave. That’s why we’re thanking the brave for our freedom with Hero Rewards.

In appreciation for your sacrifices on behalf of our country, they offer a 5% discount on all medical supplies purchased through AvaCare Medical for all past and present members of the military and their families.

All active, reserve, retired or disabled U.S. veterans and immediate family members (including parents, siblings and children) with a valid military ID are eligible for a 5% discount on any order placed on AvaCare Medical. No application necessary; simply fill out your U.S. military ID number at checkout to receive 5% off your entire order.

*Please note: AvaCare Medical reserves the right to change or cancel the Veterans discount at any time.

Holt’s Cigar Company – Supporting Our Heroes

Holt’s is proud to salute all the men and women who serve in our nation’s Armed Forces, as well as our First Responders. We are eternally grateful for the sacrifice and dedication you and your loved ones contribute. To show our support, Holt’s provides a military discount.

They’re honored to offer active military, veterans and retirees, national guard members and reserves of our Armed Forces a 10% discount everyday online and over the phone.

Additionally, if you’ve been searching for First Responder discounts, their 10% discount applies to all active and non-active First Responders.

Their entire menu of over 550 premium, handcrafted brands, as well as machine made cigars, cigar samplers, cigar accessories and more is eligible for our military discount. A handful of exclusions apply, including Cigar of the Month Club Members and Gift Card purchases. Follow their simple verification process below to get your troop ID discounts. Holt’s is your #1 source for military cigars and cigars for soldiers!

How to Get Your Discount:
  1. Click LOGIN / REGISTER to verify your military status. You will be asked to either log in or create a holts.com account, if you are not presently logged in.
  2. Click VERIFY MILITARY STATUS or VERIFY FIRST RESPONDER STATUS. Choose the option that applies to your service.
  3. Verify Your Status. You will be asked to provide information to a third-party site (SheerID) for verification.
  4. Enjoy 10% OFF Your Orders. Once verified, your discount will be applied at the checkout when you are logged into your holts.com account. Some restrictions apply. *See below for details.

For assistance, please contact us to send an email or speak with a Customer Service Representative.

Fine Print:

*Details: Online military validation must be completed before the military discount can be displayed. Once you have been successfully validated online, you can use the discount whenever you are logged into your account. Your 10% discount will be calculated off of the selling price. Exceptions include Cigar of the Month Club and Gift Cards.

extended STAY AMERICA – Military & Government Deals

Whether you’re looking for a place to stay due to relocation, reassignment, or BRAC, Extended Stay America has everything you need to feel at home for short or long stays — all at an affordable price.

You’ll have all the benefits of a studio apartment with none of the hassles.

  • All utilities are included, so you won’t have to pay extra monthly bills for any of the following
    • Cable
    • Internet
    • Electric
    • Gas
    • Water
  • No contract to sign
  • No minimum stay requirements

Military & Government personnel choose
Extended Stay America for many reasons, including:

  • Offer TDY and PCS rates at hundreds of locations
  • Honor the DoD Flat Rate Policy*
  • Fully furnished rooms, each with a fully equipped kitchen — including:
    • Full-size refrigerator and freezer
    • Stovetop
    • Microwave
    • Coffee maker
    • Toaster
    • Cookware, dishes and utensils available for free upon request
  • Free daily grab-and-go breakfast
  • Free in-room Wi-Fi
  • Free cable with premium channels
  • Free weekly housekeeping
  • Pet-friendly rooms available
  • On-site laundry facilities at all locations
  • Free parking at most locations
  • Fitness centers at select locations
  • Pools at select locations
  • Over 600 locations nationwide

*Extended Stay America is proud to support this policy and the Department of Defense by offering rates at or below 75% of Per Diem when staying consecutively for 31 nights or more on official travel (based on availability).

Helzberg Diamonds – Military Appreciation

MILITARY DISCOUNT

Helzberg Diamonds is grateful to our military and their families for their sacrifices, dedication and service to our country. To show their appreciation, they are proud to offer a 10% discount to all Active Duty, Military Retirees, Disabled Veterans, and Registered dependents of Active Duty/Retirees when you place your order in-store, online, or at 1-800-435-9237. They will need to verify your status, so please have all relevant information ready. Once they have verified your status, they will gladly send you your one-time promotion code and process your order with the 10% discount. Please note that this discount cannot be combined with any other promotion and is not applicable toward loose diamonds from Create Your Own Helzberg Diamond Ring™ or custom gemstone jewelry.

SHIPPING METHOD INFORMATION

They ship all APO/FPO orders via USPS Priority Mail to the appropriate APO/FPO processing center, then via the military postal service. Shipment tracking is not available for APO/FPO addresses. For security purposes, USPS will not show a delivery scan or in-transit scan for packages sent to these addresses.

ESTIMATED SHIPPING TIMES

Helzberg Diamonds guarantees your package will ship within their current shipping guidelines and will arrive to the APO/FPO processing center at the estimated date provided to you at checkout. The average delivery time from the processing center is between 5-10 days but can vary. If you are already familiar with receiving timelines associated with your current location, your Helzberg Diamonds order is likely to arrive in the time frame you currently experience.

RETURNS

Helzberg Diamonds regular return policy applies to orders shipped to APO/FPO addresses.

PRODUCT RESTRICTIONS

Shipments are subject to the import restrictions of the country in which your base is located.

INSURANCE

As with all Helzberg Diamonds orders, your shipment is insured from the moment it leaves their door until it arrives at yours.

SALES TAX INFORMATION

Because APO/FPO addresses are considered domestic, no taxes or duties are due on orders shipped to them. If an order is shipped directly to a base, rather than through the APO/FPO system, taxes and duties would be applicable. Helzberg Diamonds will include all required tax documentation with your order.

Kohl’s Launches Military Mondays – A New 15% Off Discount Every Week

The in-store discount rewards and celebrates active and former military personnel, veterans and their families every Monday, all year long.

Kohl’s is introducing Military Mondays – a 15 percent in-store discount – to thank active and former military personnel, veterans and their families for their selflessness and service to our nation. The Kohl’s discount is valid in-store every Monday – all year long – when customers show a valid Military ID, Military Dependent ID or Veteran ID at the point of purchase.

Kohl’s military discount has been strongly advocated for by store leaders and Kohl’s Veterans Business Resource Group (BRG) as an opportunity to reward our active and former military personnel, veterans and their families for their sacrifice.

“Through Military Mondays, we are proud to strengthen our support of our military families who have made sacrifices to ensure the safety of our communities,” said Doug Arnoldi, Kohl’s vice president, district manager, and a champion for the military discount. “We saw a need to better serve our brave military families, and this discount is our way to give back, and lighten the load, for families who have given so much.”

In addition to Military Mondays, Kohl’s support of military and their families is expressed in numerous ways throughout the company. Through Kohl’s volunteer program, Kohl’s associates volunteered at more than 250 events in 2018 specifically benefitting 230 organizations that support military causes. Kohl’s associates nationwide are also encouraged to join Kohl’s Veterans Business Resource Group (BRG), which recognizes and celebrates diverse perspectives and fosters an inclusive environment.

To learn more about the incredible savings families enjoy when they shop at Kohl’s, click here.

Kohl’s offers active military, veterans, retirees and their immediate family members a 15% discount on purchases made on Mondays, IN STORE ONLY. In order to receive the military discount, eligible customers must present proper identification along with any tender type. Proper identification includes: military identification card; a state-issued identification indicating veteran status; or Form DD 214. FOR MILITARY DISCOUNT, please bring identification to verify your military status for this offer. OFFER CANNOT BE ADDED IN CONJUNCTION WITH OTHER PERCENT-OFF DISCOUNTS OR AGE-SPECIFIC DISCOUNTS. DOLLAR-OFF DISCOUNTS, INCLUDING KOHL’S CASH® COUPONS, YES2YOU REWARDS®, AND PROMOTIONAL GIFTS, WILL BE APPLIED PRIOR TO PERCENT-OFF TOTAL PURCHASE DISCOUNTS/COUPONS. Offer cannot be added in conjunction with any other percent-off discounts. Offer not valid on the following categories and brands of merchandise: Gift Cards; Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise or other charitable items; select online-exclusives; premium athletic; beauty and fragrance; consumables; select electrics; premium electronics and warranty products; sporting goods; sports team merchandise; premium sunglasses; toys; Columbia; Dyson; Koolaburra by UGG; Levi’s; S’well and Timberland. See complete list of exclusions at Kohls.com/exclusions or look for signs in store. Offer also not valid on price adjustments on prior purchases; payment on a Kohl’s Charge account; taxes, shipping and/or handling fees. Offer is nontransferable. See associate for details.

2020 Military Pay

The 2020 military pay increase is currently proposed at 3.1%, which the DoD labels “the largest in a decade”. The proposed pay increase is part of the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget request sent by President Trump to Congress. Congress and the president still must approve and pass the increase into law.

New pay rates are effective January 1, 2020 and will be reflected on the paychecks that will be issued on January 15, 2020.

Typical Next Steps for a Military Pay Increase:

  • President Trump releases his budget proposal for 2020 – Completed March 11, 2019
  • Spring/Summer – House & Senate Armed Appropriations Committees work defense budget
  • Fall/Winter – House & Senate pass the defense budget
  • President Trump signed the 2019 NDAA into law on August 13, 2018 making the military pay increase official. Most likely, with a Democrat controlled House and Republican controlled Senate and Presidency, agreement on a budget will happen much later in the year. For instance, the 2018 and 2017 versions were signed in December when there was a divided government.

The annual pay increase for service members is determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Cost Index and growth in private-sector wages. However, by law, Title 37, Chapter 19, Section 1009, the President can set an alternate pay raise which is being proposed in the 2019 Defense Budget, and is typical of most years.

Historical Military Pay Raises by Year

YEAR MILITARY PAY RAISE % YEAR MILITARY PAY RAISE %
2020 3.1% (proposed) 1990 3.60%
2019 2.6% 1989 4.10%
2018 2.4% 1988 2.00%
2017 2.10% 1987 3.00%
2016 1.30% 1986 3.00%
2015 1.00% 1985 4.00%
2014 1.00% 1984 4.00%
2013 1.70% 1983 4.00%
2012 1.60% 1982 14.30%
2011 1.40% 1981 11.70%
2010 3.40% 1980 7.00%
2009 3.90% 1979 5.50%
2008 3.50% 1978 7.10%
2007 * 2.70% 1977 4.80%
2006 3.10% 1976 5.00%
2005 3.50% 1975 5.52%
2004 * 4.20% 1974 6.20%
2003 * 4.70% 1973 6.70%
2002 * 6.90% 1972 7.20%
2001 4.10% 1971 7.90%
2000 6.20% 1970 8.10%
1999 3.60% 1969 12.60%
1998 2.80% 1968 6.80%
1997 3.00% 1967 5.60%
1996 2.40% 1966 3.20%
1995 2.60% 1965 E: 11% O:6%
1994 2.20% 1964 2.5% – 8.5%
1993 3.70% 1963 12.60%
1992 4.20% 1962 0.00%
1991 4.10%

* 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2007 are the average percentage raise as military pay raises differed for various military pay grades.

2020 military pay increases are for all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces; Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, and Reserve forces where applicable.

Apple Military Discount

The Apple Military Discount is a program provided by Apple for active duty, veterans, U.S. Military, National Guard and Reserve and the family members who reside in the same household.  The Apple military discount is 10% on most products. Visit the Apple Military Discount Website or visit and order from any U.S. Apple retail store, at an online kiosk. You can go to Apple.com and scroll to the bottom to click on “Shop for Veterans & Military” under the “Government” heading. If you cannot find the information you need online, you may contact the Apple Store Contact Center team at 1-800-MY-APPLE.

Apple Statement: “At Apple we are deeply grateful to the men and women of our armed forces. We’re proud to offer active military and veterans a new dedicated online store with special pricing as an expression of our gratitude for their brave service.”

Apple launched this new program in December 2018.

Apple Military Program Details

The Veterans and Military Purchase Program (“Program”) is a benefit provided by Apple Inc. (“Apple”) to current, and Veteran members of the U.S. Military, National Guard and Reserve. The Program is also offered to their immediate family members who also reside in their same household. This Program is intended for personal use only.

Personal Discount: You may purchase or “Sponsor” up to three computer systems, three iPad devices, three unlocked iPhone devices, three Apple Watch devices (with limit of one Apple Watch Hermes), three HomePods, three Apple TV, three AirPods, ten iPod touch devices, ten Apple accessories (including Beats products), ten Apple Watch accessories (including bands and chargers with limit of one Apple Watch Hermes band), ten third-party accessories (excludes Microsoft, Bose, Adobe and HP products), ten Apple Certified Refurbished products, ten designed by Apple in California books and up to three AppleCare+ or AppleCare protection plans (per each applicable product line and must be purchased with a new device to receive discount) each calendar year (January 1-December 31). No more than the eligible quantity amount can be shipped to the same individual or entity (e.g., company, institution, club or group), whether that purchase is Sponsored solely by you or, also, by other eligible personnel. To “Sponsor” means placing an order for an immediate family member.

AppleCare+ and AppleCare Protection Plans: AppleCare+ and AppleCare Protection Plans can be purchased at special pricing.

Transfer from Active Duty to the National Guard or Reserves

There are a few routes for early separation from active duty

Some of the U.S. armed services allow personnel to request early separation to serve in the National Guard or Active Reserves.

The other active duty services occasionally will allow you to request a discharge from active duty to serve in the Guard or Reserves under a Convenience of the Government Discharge.

When the Military Could Request a Discharge

The military can also use this provision when it wants to initiate a separation but doesn’t have a basis to require your separation under any other program.

For example, if you won the state lottery and became a multi-millionaire overnight, the military probably would find it disruptive to the morale of the other personnel. In such a case, they would likely approve a discharge request under “convenience of the government.”

However, to qualify, you must be within a designated time (usually one or two years) from your normal date of separation. Approval is not automatic, and approvals for transfer are based on the needs of the service at the time.

Service Commitment for Reserves

It may surprise you to learn that everyone who joins the military for the first time incurs a minimum eight-year service commitment. It doesn’t matter if you signed a two-year active duty contract, a four-year contract, or even a six-year contract. Your total military commitment is eight years.

Any time not spent on active duty must either be served in the Active Guard/Reserves, (the program where one performs drill one weekend per month, and two weeks per year,) or in the inactive Reserves. In the inactive Reserves, one doesn’t perform drills, but can be recalled to active duty at any time for war, or national emergency).

Early Discharge from Active Duty

While you can easily get discharged from the Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP), getting out of the military once you are on active duty and before your active duty commitment ends is not a simple process. In almost all cases, the onus will be on the military member requesting the discharge to prove that the action is justified.

Other Reasons for Early Discharge from Active Duty

The Department of Defense will allow a military member to be discharged early to pursue their education if they are within 90 days of their normal separation date.

Sometimes the Navy or Air Force will approve a request for longer than 90 days, but no such provision exists in the Army or Marines. There are some conditions, however.

Unlike in the past, when pregnancy was a reason for automatic discharge for women in the military, there are now specific rules about when a pregnant woman can request leave and for how long. These will vary based on the branch of service she’s in and her specific medical circumstances.

Be advised that if you do receive a discharge due to pregnancy, the type of discharge (honorable or general) will affect the type of benefits you’re entitled to and your veteran status.

A Guide to Active Duty Death Entitlements

Learn about the benefits for family members of fallen military

Family members of military personnel who die while serving on active duty, active duty for training (ADT), or initial duty training (IDT) may be eligible for several federal benefits, privileges or entitlements.

When a family is notified of the death of an active duty military member, they are assigned to a Casualty Assistance Representative (CAR) whose sole job is to help the family through the process. If the CAR cannot answer your questions, they will refer you to the appropriate military official or government agency, or get the answer for you.

The following shows the benefits, privileges, and entitlements for active duty military family survivors.

Monetary Benefits

Family members of military personnel who die as a direct or indirect result of wartime or peacetime service are eligible to receive several types of federal benefits. Benefits to a spouse and children are paid regardless of economic need, except in the case of a nonservice-connected death pension. Benefits for parents who might otherwise be eligible are not paid if the parents have income in excess of a certain amount each year. Your CAR, the nearest VA or Social Security office will explain the benefits to you, the amounts that can be paid, and help you complete the required claim forms.

Death Gratuity

The military “death gratuity” is a lump sum gratuitous payment made by the military to eligible beneficiaries of a member who dies on Active Duty (AD), Active Duty for Training (ADT), or Initial Duty Training (IDT), or full-time National Guard duty. Its purpose is to help the survivors in their readjustment and to aid them in meeting immediate expenses incurred. The death gratuity payment is $12,420 and is non-taxable. For those whose death is as a result of hostile actions and occurred in a designated combat operation or combat zone or while training for combat or performing hazardous duty, the payment is $100,000.

The death gratuity payment is made to survivors of the deceased in this order:

  1. The member’s lawful surviving spouse. Payment delivered by the CAR assigned to the reporting or assistance base, within 24 hours of the member’s death, unless the surviving spouse desires other arrangements.
  2. If there is no spouse, to the child or children of the member, regardless of age or marital status, in equal shares (state laws guide payment to minor children). Payment for minor children is made by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) within 30 days after they have received the required claim form and supporting documentation.

The death gratuity is not paid to any other person when there are no survivors as listed above. A will is not a legal designation for death gratuity since such payment is not an allowance or a debt due to the member and cannot be part of the member’s estate. The claim form required to apply for this benefit is DD Form 397, Claim Certification and Voucher for Death Gratuity Payment.

Unpaid Pay and Allowances

Upon the death of an active duty member, any pay and allowances due, but not paid to the member, are paid to the designated beneficiary named on the member’s DD Form 93, Record of Emergency Data.

Unpaid pay and allowances may include unpaid basic pay, payment for up to 60 days of accrued leave, amounts due for travel, per diem expenses, transportation of eligible family members, shipment of household goods, and unpaid installments of variable reenlistment bonuses. The decedent’s pay record is completely audited by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, and a check for any amount due is issued to the designated beneficiary. When there is no written designation by the member, any money due is paid to the first eligible recipient in the following order:

  • The member’s lawful surviving spouse.
  • If there is no spouse, to the child or children of the member and descendants of deceased children, on their behalf.
  • If none of the above, to the parents of the member in equal shares or the surviving parent.
  • If none of the above, to the duly appointed legal representative of the member’s estate.
  • If none of the above, to the person(s) determined to be entitled under the laws of the state in which the member was domiciled.

The claim form required to apply for this benefit is Standard Form 1174, Claim for Unpaid Compensation of Deceased Member of the Uniformed Services. Your CAR will help you complete the required claim form.

Family Housing

Eligible family members occupying government housing on the date the member dies may continue to occupy such housing without charge for a period of 365 days provided member’s death was in the line-of-duty. If they vacate the government housing before the 180 days are up, the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), is paid for the remaining unused days. If the family members are not occupying government housing, they may receive BAH or an overseas housing allowance for 180 days after the member’s death.

Your CAR will explain this entitlement to you and help you complete the required claim form.

Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI). The SGLI payment is $400,000 unless the member elected a lesser amount or declined coverage in writing. Monthly premium payments for the level of coverage selected by the member are automatically deducted from the member’s pay. Determination and payment of proceeds are made by the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance under the jurisdiction of the Department of VA.

Payment of proceeds to a beneficiary is exempt from taxation. The insured member may have designated as principal or contingent beneficiary any person, firm, corporation or legal entity, including their estate, individually or as a trustee. If the member designated a trust, they indicated the name and date of the trust in the beneficiary block. If the member designated a trust through a Will, they annotated “Last Will and Testament” in the beneficiary block.

If the member chose not to designate a specific beneficiary but preferred the proceeds be paid in the order of precedence, the member selected the “By Law” designation. When the “By Law” designation is used, the proceeds are automatically paid in the following order of precedence:

  • The member’s lawful surviving spouse.
  • If there is no spouse, to the child or children of the member in equal shares, with the share of any deceased child to be distributed among the descendants of that child.
  • If none of the above, to the parents of the member in equal shares or the surviving parent.
  • If none of the above, to the duly appointed executor or administrator of the member’s estate.
  • If none of the above, to other next of kin.

The claim form required to apply for this benefit is VA Form SGLV 8283, Claim for Death Benefits.

Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)

SBP is a monthly annuity paid by the military to the surviving spouse or, in some cases, eligible children, of a member who dies on active duty. The initial annuity paid to a surviving spouse is equal to 55 percent of the retired pay to which the member would have been entitled based upon years of active service if retired on the date of death (if the member was retirement-eligible).

The annuity is reduced by the amount of the monthly DIC payment awarded and paid to the surviving spouse by the Department of VA. When the surviving spouse reaches age 62, the annuity is reduced to 35 percent. The annuity is paid until the spouse dies, but is suspended upon remarriage before age 55. The annuity to a surviving spouse may be reinstated if the subsequent marriage ends in death or divorce. The annuitant must send a certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate to DFAS-DE to reinstate the annuity.

If a second SBP benefit resulted from the remarriage, the surviving spouse must elect which of the two SBP benefits to receive. Should the surviving spouse remarry at age 55 or older, the annuitant will continue to receive the monthly annuity. The surviving spouse must
notify DFAS-DE/FRB, 6760 E. Irvington Place, Denver CO 80279-6000, of any changes in marital status. Detailed information will be provided by your CAR and the DFAS-DE Center.

Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)

It is a monthly annuity paid by the military to the surviving spouse or, in some cases, eligible children, of a Reserve Component member who dies and has completed the satisfactory years of service that qualified the member for retired pay at age 60. The member must have made an election within 90 days of notification of eligibility to participate in the program. Members of an Active Guard/Reserve 10211 (officer) or 12310 (enlisted) tour, are eligible to participate in the plan. Coverage is not automatic unless the member dies before the 90 day period established by law.

The initial annuity paid to a surviving spouse is equal to 55 percent of the retired pay to which the member would have been entitled at age 60, reduced by the Reserve Portion Cost.

SBP and RCSBP Factors

Should the surviving spouse remarry before age 55, the annuity is paid in equal shares to eligible children under age 18, or under age 22 if a full-time student, unless handicapped. The coverage stops when there are no eligible children. A dependent child may be an adopted child, stepchild, grandchild, foster child, or recognized a natural child who lived with the member in a regular parent-child relationship. A child disabled before age 18, or before age 22 if a full-time student when the disability occurred, is an eligible beneficiary so long as the disability exists and the child remains incapable of self-support.

DFAS-DE reinstates a child’s annuity when a child between the ages of 18 and 22 reenters school on a full-time basis, or a disabling condition recurs making the child incapable of self-support. Marriage at any age terminates a child’s eligibility. The monthly annuity for children is 55 percent and is not reduced by DIC or when a disabled child attains age 62. Marriage at any age terminates a child’s eligibility.​

Survivor annuities are taxable income. You will receive a tax statement from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service at the end of the year. The statement will show the full amount of the annuity payments you received and the total amount of tax withheld during the year.

Unless you elect otherwise, the amount of federal income tax withheld (FITW) will be as if you were a married individual claiming three exemptions. If you want your FITW changed at a later date, you must complete a new TD-Form W-4P, Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments, showing the changes, and mail it to DFAS-DE/FRB, 6760 E. Irvington Place, Denver CO 80279-6000.

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service withhold a 30 percent Federal income tax on annuities paid to nonresident aliens unless the beneficiary resides in a country that has a tax treaty with the United States specifying a different withholding rate. Address questions to the Internal Revenue Service, Assistant Commissioner (International), ATTN: IN:C:TPS, 950 L’Enfant Plaza South, SW, Washington DC 20024-2123, or contact the nearest American Embassy.

Annuities may be subject to Federal estate taxes. Beneficiaries should address tax questions to a legal assistance officer or the nearest Internal Revenue Service office.

A certificate of continued eligibility form will be sent to you each year prior to your birthday. Complete and return the form promptly so the Defense Finance and Accounting Service can continue your annuity without interruption. Read the instructions on the form and make sure you have completed it correctly. Sign and date the form and send it to DFAS-DE/FRB, 6760 E. Irvington Place, Denver CO 80279-6000.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Offset

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service reduces a surviving spouse’s annuity by the amount of DIC the VA awards and pays the surviving spouse. The SBP annuity is not reduced by the amount of a child’s DIC entitlement.

The claim forms required to apply for this benefit are DD Form 2656-4 (this form is not available electronically), TD-Form W-4P, Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments, (available from the Post Office or IRS), and SF 1199A, Direct Deposit Sign-Up Form. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service may require additional documents to establish an annuity (i.e., Representative Payee documentation; school certification; physician’s statement for a disabled child over age 18).

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

The DIC payments may be authorized for surviving spouses who have not remarried, unmarried children under age 18, disabled children, children between the age of 18 and 23 if attending a VA-approved school, and low-income parents of servicemembers who die from:

  • A disease or injury incurred or aggravated while on active duty or active duty for training.
  • An injury incurred or aggravated in line of duty while on inactive duty training.
  • A disability compensable by the Veterans’ Affairs.

DIC paid to a surviving spouse is not based on the member’s military pay grade. The amount paid for a spouse with one or more children of the deceased is increased for each child. The amount of the DIC payment for parents vary according to the number of parents, the amount of their individual or combined total annual income, and whether they live together or if remarried, living with a spouse. The surviving spouse and parents who receive DIC may be granted a special allowance for aid and attendance if a patient is in a nursing home, disabled, or blind and needs or requires the regular aid and attendance of another person.

If they are not so disabled as to require the regular aid and attendance of another person but who, due to disability, are permanently housebound, they may be granted additional special allowances. DIC payments to a surviving spouse are payable for life, as long as the spouse does not remarry. Should the surviving spouse remarry, payments are terminated for life? Your CAR or the nearest VA office will explain the benefit to you, the amounts that can be paid, and help you complete the required claim forms.

The claim form when applying for this benefit is VA Form 21-534, Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation or Death Pension Accrued Benefits by Surviving Spouse or Child, or VA Form 21-535, Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation by Parent(s).

Denial of Claim for DIC

If the VA denies your claim for DIC benefits, you may file an appeal with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. The appeal must be filed within one year from the date of the notification of a VA decision to file an appeal. The first step in the appeal process is for you to file a written notice of disagreement with the VA regional office that made the decision. It is a written statement that you disagree with the VA’s decision. Following receipt of the written notice, the VA will furnish you a “Statement of the Case” describing what facts, laws, and regulations were used in deciding the case.

To complete the request for appeal, you must file a “Substantive Appeal” within 60 days of the mailing of the Statement of Case, or within one year from the date, the VA mailed its decision, whichever period ends later. Your CAR or the nearest VA office will help you file a written notice of disagreement with the VARO (Veteran Affairs Regional Office) that made the decision.

Nonservice-Connected Death Pension

If the VARO determines that you are not eligible for DIC, you may be eligible to apply for a nonservice-connected death pension. Surviving spouses and unmarried children under age 18, age 23 if attending a VA-approved school, of deceased members with wartime service may be eligible for this pension if they meet income limitations prescribed by law. Qualifying children who become incapable of self-support because of a disability before age 18 may be eligible for a pension as long as the condition exists unless the child marries or the child’s income exceeds the income limit.

The rate of the pension depends on the amount of income the surviving spouse or child receives from other sources. A pension is not payable to those whose estates are so large that it is reasonable to assume the estate will maintain them financially. Eligible survivors should make application through the local VA office. The VA will determine your eligibility.

Montgomery GI Bill Death Benefit

The VA will pay a special Montgomery GI Bill death benefit to a designated survivor in the event of the service-connected death of an individual while on active duty. The deceased must either have been entitled to educational assistance under the Montgomery GI Bill program, or a participant in the program who would have been so entitled but for the high school diploma or length of service requirement. The amount paid will be equal to the deceased member’s actual military pay reduction less any educational benefits paid.

If you are eligible to receive the death benefit, submit a letter, along with proof of relationship and a copy of the DD Form 1300, Report of Casualty, to the appropriate VA Regional Office. The death benefit is made in “by-law” fashion to the spouse, children, and parents, and will not be paid to anyone else in the “by-law” chain. Your CAR or the nearest VA office can help you apply for a refund of contributions.

Social Security Payments

Social Security monthly benefits are paid to a spouse or a divorced spouse, age 60 or over; a spouse or divorced spouse regardless of age with children of the decedent under age 16 or disabled in their care and meeting social security requirements.

A divorced spouse must have been married to the service member at least 10 years. Monthly payments are also paid to children until age 18 or 19 if a full-time student at a primary or secondary school, or age 18 or older and disabled before age 18. Spouses waiting until age 65 to apply for Social Security receive maximum benefits. However, they can receive reduced Social Security payments between ages 60 and 65.

Dependent parents are eligible for benefits at age 62 if they were more than 50 percent dependent on the deceased service member for their support. The amount paid can only be determined by the Social Security Administration, which has a record of the wages earned by the member during the period of both military and civilian employment under the Social Security Program. To receive this benefit, eligible survivors should make application to the nearest Social Security office. They will explain the benefit, determine your eligibility, the amounts that can be paid, and help you complete the required claim forms.

You should apply early, as the law generally permits retroactive payments of 12 months.

Social Security Lump Sum Death Payment

The Social Security Administration pays a lump-sum death payment, up to $255, to the surviving spouse living with the member at the time of death. Separation because of military service, is considered living together. If there is no surviving spouse, it is paid to the oldest child who was eligible for or entitled to Social Security benefits for the month of death, based upon the deceased member’s earnings. No other survivors are entitled to this benefit. This benefit is paid regardless if burial, funeral, or memorial benefits were paid by the military.

To receive this benefit, eligible survivors must make application to the nearest Social Security office. They will explain the benefit, determine your eligibility, the amount that can be paid, and help you complete the required claim forms.

48 stores and brands that offer military discounts all year long — including Under Armour, Nike, and L.L.Bean

Those that serve in the Armed Services (and by connection, their families) sacrifice much in the name of the Greater Good.

And though it seems nearly impossible to thank them for that, retailers have at least adopted the practice of offering special discounts to servicemen and women and immediate family members in an effort to lighten the loads they can, in gratitude for those that they cannot.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up a list of stores offering military discounts year-round below to make them easier to navigate. And though there are a good amount listed, it’s always a good practice to ask at any store you’re shopping at since many don’t advertise, or in case they require in-person verification.

Check out all the stores that offer military discounts year-round:

Clothes, shoes, and accessories

Clothes, shoes, and accessories

Eddie Bauer: 15% off most merchandise when you show your military ID.

Abercrombie & Fitch: 10-15% off at manager’s discretion on in-store purchases.

American Eagle Outfitters: 10-15% off at manager’s discretion on in-store purchases.

Allen Edmonds:  15% off regularly priced merchandise after ID validation.

Banana Republic: 10% off on the first of every month when you show military ID, though it may vary by location.

Bonobos: 15% military discount to active-duty men and women and veterans.

Cole Haan:  20% off for veterans and active duty members.

Columbia Sportswear: 10% military discount on online orders.

Kohl’s: 15% off at participating locations.

Tommy John: 20% off for military and first responders. Verify eligibility here.

Tommy Hilfiger: 15% off for students, teachers, and military members.

Under Armour: 10% off online and in-store for Active Duty, Retirees, Military Spouses, Military Family Members, as well as a 10% discount for First Responders, active Police, Fire, and EMT customers. Verify yourself here to get the discount online.

Gap: 10% off on the first of every month when you show military ID, though it may vary by location.

Old Navy: 10% off on the first of every month when you show military ID, though it may vary by location.

GlassesUSA: 30% off for active duty, veterans, and family members who use their online ID verification program.

Hanes Outlet Store: 10% off with military ID.

Champs Sports: 20% discount in-stores or online. If shopping online, simply select “Use Military Discount” at checkout to verify your eligibility.

Columbia Sportswear: 15% discount for active duty, veterans, retirees, reservists, and dependents in stores.

Carhartt: 10% military discount for service members, veterans, and families with ID card in stores only.

Nike: 10% discount for active, retired, reservist US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard personnel online and in stores in the US. Verify your eligibility here.

Timberland: 20% discount on online and in-store orders. For online orders, you can contact customer service for verification.

Roxy: 15% discount on apparel and surfing supplies.

L.L.Bean: 10% discount to anyone with a valid military ID at most stores.

Foot Locker: 20% off most purchases. During checkout, click on “Use Military Discount” link and follow instructions.

Payless Shoes: 10% discount on in-store purchases and free shipping to military locations.

TOMS Shoes: 10% discount. Verify your eligibility here.

Dagne Dover: 20% off your handbag purchases. To get the discount, just fill out this form with your official military email address and the company will send you a 20% off discount code.

Moosejaw: 20% off for military members.

Phone and internet

Phone and internet

T-Mobile: 50% off family lines for military personnel. 20% off the standard $70-a-month plan ($55) with AutoPay.

AT&T: 15% discount on monthly plan charge.

Sprint: 50% off military family lines.

Verizon Wireless: 15% discount on monthly plans and a 25% discount on accessories.  All government employees including active duty, reserves, and national guard are eligible.  This discount is also extended to retired military, veterans and their families through Veterans Advantage.

Tech

Tech

Apple Store: Discounts vary

Best Buy: discounts are available at some locations, typically 10% off. Best Buy offers half off Geek Squad services for military families.

Microsoft: 10% off on select products for active, former, and retired military personnel and their families.

Dell: 15% off with special coupon.

Home and hardware

Home and hardware


Overstock: Get a free Club O membership and receive 5% reward dollars for every purchase, free shipping, and extra reward dollars.

Home Depot: 10% discount, up to a $500 maximum, year-round at all stores to active duty military personnel, reservists, retired or disabled veterans and their immediate families.

Brooklyn Bedding: 25% off the retail price of any sleep products, including mattresses.

Leesa Mattresses: 12.5% off for military, first responders, students, and teachers.

Lowes: 10% off eligible purchases.

Sherwin Williams: Get 15% off on paints, stains, and painting supplies to those currently serving, are reservists, or have served in the military. a discount on your painting needs depending on the location of the store.

Eight Sleep: Get 10% off any product, including custom smart mattresses if you’re a firefighter, EMT, or part of the military or police.

Insurance, car rentals, and travel

Insurance, car rentals, and travel


American Express: Get annual fees waived on any charge or credit card, including the Platinum Card, which offers a number of perks, benefits, and freebies.

Liberty Mutual Insurance: 10% discount on auto insurance and 5% off of homeowner’s insurance for Veterans Advantage members, with an additional 4% off your coverage if you’re a veteran or current member of the US military.

Geico: 2% – 15% discount in all states except Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Tennessee and Texas.

AutoZone: Discount varies, so just ask and have a valid military ID on hand.

Avis: Up to 25% off for U.S military veterans, active duty military, National Guard & Reservists and family.