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MOAACC Survivor Assistance Lessons Learned
Back in the June, 2019 Intercom, I introduced a simplified “Big Picture” for the phases of a Survivor dealing with the loss of a spouse and tackling the potentially very intimidating government “paperwork mill” of notifications and claims, etc. The first phase: “Preparations Beforehand” makes an assumption (always dangerous!) that there has been a reasonable amount of financial planning done to assure an adequate income for the survivor. CAPT Bob Houle’s article this month on Financial Literacy (Financial Literacy: Myth Busting the End Game) does a great job to help get you started on that financial planning and should be included in that first phase of the simplified “Big Picture”. If you need more motivation, look back at the July, 2019 SAT (Survivor Assistance Team) Lessons Learned article in the Intercom. Your situation may not be that desperate, but inadequate financial planning can have a devastating effect on a Surviving Spouse’s financial situation. An unfortunately very common scenario was discussed way back in the May, 2018 SAT Intercom article to remind you that the process of submitting benefits claims and then having them processed seems to be taking longer than in the past. It is not un-common to have VA claims, and even DFAS claims to take 2-3 months before the survivor starts receiving the benefits (and remember the previous retired pay is stopped till the death benefits are processed). The SAT is positioned to help facilitate the notifications and claim submittals to help keep that time as short as possible. On top of that, remember the bottom-line income for the Survivor will be less than before. So, in addition to the short-term financial planning for being able to cover expenses till the benefits do start, you MUST also plan to cover the long term reduced income.
The ”SAT Lesson Learned” for this month is to not forget to include financial planning in that first phase of the “Big Picture” (Preparations Beforehand), and the best way to do that is to become “Financially Literate”!
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