A lump sum gratuitous payment made by the Army to designated beneficiaries of a Soldier who dies on active duty including full-time active guard/reserve personnel; USAR personnel traveling directly en route to or from or participating in annual training (AT), active duty training (ADT), initial active duty training (IADT), active duty for special work (ADSW), special active duty training (SADT) or inactive duty training (IDT) and ARNG personnel traveling directly en route to or from or participating in AT, ADT, full time national guard duty (FTNGD), temporary tour of active duty (TTAD), IADT or IDT. The Soldier can designate up to ten individuals, without regard to relationship, and allocate amounts in ten-percent increments to each designated individual listed on the Soldier's DD Form 93.Its purpose is to help the survivors in their readjustment and to aid them in meeting immediate expenses incurred. At the present time, the amount of Death Gratuity is $100,000.00.
This amount is excludable from gross income for tax purposes. This change is retroactive to October 7, 2001. If the Soldier did not designate any beneficiaries for the Death Gratuity on the DD Form 93, then the death gratuity amount is made payable to survivors of the deceased in this order:
To the lawful, surviving spouse of the service member, if any.
If there is no surviving spouse, to any surviving children of the service member.
If there is none of the above, to the surviving parents of the service member.
If there is none of the above, to the duty appointed executor or administrator of the estate of the service member.
If there is none of the above, to the other next of kin of the person entitled under the laws of domicile of the person at the time of the person's death.
If a designated beneficiary dies before receiving the amount to which entitled, such amount is then paid to the living survivor(s) first listed above.
If a Soldier dies from a Service-connected injury/illness, a claim should be made to the VA for their Death Gratuity determination.
For additional information, please visit the following links:
Defense Finance and Accounting Service Arrears of Pay Website
Army Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operations Center (Death Gratuity)