Death Gratuity

Regular Air Force: Retired

Benefit Fact Sheet

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The Department of Defense provides a one-time lump sum Death Gratuity of $100,000 to the primary next of kin of a service member who dies while on active duty. Its purpose is to help the survivors in their readjustment and to aid them in meeting immediate expenses incurred. The gratuity is paid by the last military command of the deceased.

Benefit Highlights

Application for the gratuity is made through the appointed Casualty Assistance Officer representing the next of kin. The claim form required to apply for this benefit is DD Form 397, Claim Certification and Voucher for Death Gratuity Payment. Payment is paid as expeditiously as possible.

  • The gratuity is paid free of any federal or state income tax liability

  • Only one gratuity payment is authorized to the designated next of kin

  • The gratuity cannot be designated for payment to the estate of the deceased

Additional Information

For more information, please visit the following links:

Office of the Secretary of Defense, Military Compensation website:

Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) Arrears of Pay:

Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations:

Document Review Date: 13 May 2024