WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 25, 2008) -- Based on changes to law over the past two years, Soldiers now have greater flexibility in determining whom they designate to receive their $100,000 death gratuity.

On July 1, the law began allowing Soldiers to designate up to 10 beneficiaries, in $10,000 increments, none of whom are required to be a spouse or Family member.

To accommodate the change, the Office of the Secretary of Defense has published an updated version of the Department of Defense Form 93, Record of Emergency Data.

Since July 1, however, a number of Soldiers filled out the 1988 version of the DD Form 93. These Soldiers must now complete a new DD Form 93 using the January 2008 version.

<b>Forms sent since July 1 need to be redone</b>

Before the new form was available, the Department of the Army issued guidance designed to allow for the new beneficiary options. Feedback from the field, though, indicates that the work-around does not adequately allow Defense Finance and Accounting Service to clearly determine Soldier intent regarding their death gratuity choices, officials said.

Only Soldiers who completed the old DD Form 93 since July 1 are required to go back and complete the new version, officials said, but they added that all Soldiers are eligible to update their beneficiaries.

DD Forms 93 that were completed or updated prior to July 1 remain valid, officials said. They added, however, that Soldiers are encouraged to update their DD 93s on the new forms as soon as practicable.

"This is a command issue," said Gen. Pete Chiarelli, the vice chief of staff of the Army. "All commanders and leaders must ensure that Soldiers receive proper guidance and counseling related to their expanded death gratuity options. Talk to your Soldiers; tell them to talk to their Spouses and help them make appropriate decisions."

For more information or questions regarding the death gratuity and the DD Form 93, Soldiers and their Family members should contact their local servicing personnel administration center.

Page last updated Mon August 25th, 2008 at 18:18