Notifying Loved Ones
When the death of a baby occurs, leave is up to the Chain of Command, so it is important to let them know what is going on. If your spouse is deployed, call the Red Cross (877) 272-7337.
Red Cross workers verify the information in the message and relay an accurate and complete description of the emergency to the member of the military. While some information can be relayed via email or a phone call from home, the Red Cross information assists the person serving in the military and their commanding officers when making decisions regarding emergency leave. This includes:
– Anyone on active duty in the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard
– Activated members of the National Guard and Reserve of all branches of the US Armed Forces are also eligible for help
– A military retiree or their spouse or widow(er), a cadet or midshipman at a service academy, an ROTC cadet on orders for training, or a Merchant Marine aboard a US Naval Ship.
What Information Do I Need?
When placing an emergency communication call for assistance, the caller should have the following information:
– the service member’s full, legal name
– their rank or rating
– their branch of service
– the service member’s Social Security number, date of birth, and military unit address
– A hospital chaplain can be requested immediately. You may also request a representative from your own faith.
– The hospital may provide a memory box, complete with hand and foot prints and an envelope for a lock of hair if possible.
– Financial assistance is available from the service member’s FSLGI, Service Members Group Life Insurance. https://www.benefits.va.gov/insurance/docs/proceduralguide.pdf as well as interest free loans or grants from the Relief Society.
– Branch Specific Resources may be helpful for financial assistance, including funeral expenses and related family travel. There may also be grants or interest-free loans available that you can repay after FSGLI benefits are recieved.
– Air Force Aid Society – https://www.afas.org
– Army Emergency Relief Society – https://www.aerhq.org
– Coast Guard Mutual Assistance – www.cgmahq.org/
– Navy Marine Corps Relief Society – www.nmcrs.org
Multiple counseling services are made available through Military OneSource and the MFLC program.
Postpartum Support International (PSI) provides support for women suffering from postpartum complications such as depression, grief, anxiety, and more. With a different coordinator for each branch, PSI does their best to meet the emotional and mental needs of military families.
Making a Claim
A service member starts a claim for FSGLI benefits by notifying his/her personnel support office, who should notify a trained casualty assistance person. Documentation from health care providers will be required. The family must request a filed copy of the death certificat from the funeral home or Department of Vital Statistics. If the baby is born alive, a copy of the birth certificate will also be required.
Female Service Members
Mothers will receive medical convalescent leave granted by their physician dependent on gestational age and medical conditions. They may also request additional leave surrounding their loss and personal circumstances.
FSGLI Coverage Basics
FSGLI coverage is available to spouses of military members who elect Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI), and it includes coverage on children complimentary with the spouse coverage. FSGLI is paid via payroll deductions. Children are covered for $10,000.
In most cases, FSGLI coverage is automatic based upon the information entered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). FSGLI coverage may be reduced or declined. You can verify FSGLI enrollment by checking the deductions section of your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES). Note that FSGLI coverage is not automatic for dual military couples.
FSGLI for Babies
Under FSGLI child coverage, the $10,000 benefit is paid upon the death of a covered, natural-born, dependend child. Under FSGLI guidelines, the definition of a dependent child includes babies who are born alive as well as stillborn babies whose death occurs before expulsion, extraction, or delivery, and not for the purposes of abortion, and:
– 1) whose fetal weight is 350 grams or more; or
– 2) if the fetal weight is unknown, whose duration in-utero was 20 or more completed weeks gestation, calcuated from the date the last normal menstrual period began to the date of expulsion, extraction, or delivery.
In cases of multiple gestation pregnancies, if one of the stillborn babies of the same pregnancy meets the fetal weight of 350 grams or more, all stillborn babies of that pregnancy are eligible for coverage.