Prepare Your Loved Ones

Sometimes the most difficult conversations are the most important, like helping your loved ones be prepared for when you pass away. Talking to your family about this topic beforehand is a way to show that you care, and it can help to ease the financial burdens they may face at that time.

Military retirees can have beneficiaries for their arrears of pay (AOP). This article is intended to help you prepare your AOP beneficiary to file a claim when the time comes.

First, make sure you understand what an (AOP) beneficiary is and the nature of the benefit to which they are entitled. Find more information on this benefit here.

Second, designate your beneficiaries for any AOP that may be due (and tell them who you designated)! When no beneficiary is named, the payment is made to the first person in what is known as the "Order of Precedence." The Order of Precedence is the federally-mandated order of inheritance that applies to legacies when there is no designated beneficiary.

Find more information on the “Order of Precedence” here.

Please keep in mind that it can take many months to locate your survivors, identify who comes first in the Order of Precedence and then make the payment. That's why having a current, correct and complete beneficiary designation on file is important. It will prevent delays or errors in your arrears payments.

Designating a sole beneficiary in your will does not automatically make that person your AOP beneficiary. AOP determination is based exclusively on the AOP beneficiary election in your retired pay account (or, if there is no designated beneficiary, the Order of Precedence). To review your current arrears of pay beneficiaries, or to make changes, visit the “Beneficiaries for Arrears” link once you’ve signed in to your myPay account.

For more detailed instructions on designating an Arrears of Pay beneficiary in myPay,

Third, let your beneficiary know that sometimes money that has already been deposited into your checking account needs to be returned to us. Entitlement to your military retired pay ends when you pass away. Most banks will automatically deduct any overpaid funds without warning, which can be troublesome if you share a joint account.

Fourth, tell your beneficiaries what documents they will need to send in to make their claim. One copy of the death certificate that includes the manner of death needs to be sent to us. Also, each beneficiary should complete a Claim for Unpaid Compensation (SF 1174). It’s a great idea to go over this claim form with your beneficiaries ahead of time to make sure they have all of the information needed to fill it out.

If you want a more detailed explanation of this process, check out the instructions on our website at

Fifth, let your beneficiaries know that sometimes there is no money due. Each situation is different. It depends on how up-to-date the account is kept. You can make sure your account is in good standing by performing a yearly audit. See our checklist for performing an annual audit in this newsletter article, “Play it Safe: Perform an Annual Audit of Your Retirement Account.”

Sixth, when an arrears payment is made, there is a statement on the check that reads, “Retired Pay Payable only during life of Payee.” Please do not let this statement alarm your beneficiaries. As long as the beneficiary’s name is accurate on the check, the check can be cashed.

We want to take care of your loved ones when you pass away. You can help us by having a conversation with them so they know what to expect. We know talking about it might be difficult, but we hope this checklist provides some ideas about what to discuss. Don’t put it off. Have a conversation about it with your loved ones today.

Retiree Appreciation Days

Throughout the United States and Europe, the military hosts Retiree Appreciation Days (RADs). At these events, a variety of organizations share information on the services they provide, including the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). Here are the locations and dates of the remaining RADs where DFAS will be represented. If you attend, be sure to stop by the DFAS table and say hello. We look forward to answering any questions you may have about your retired pay.

LocationDate of RADLocationDate of RAD
Hill AFB, UT 9/22/2017 Fort Knox, KY 10/13/2017
Redstone Arsenal, AL 9/23/2017 Rock Island Arsenal, IL (Quad Cities Area Council) 10/14/2017
Fort Drum, NY 9/23/2017 New London, CT 10/14/2017
Selfridge ANGB, MI (Selfridge Area Council) 9/23/2017 Fort Carson, CO 10/14/2017
LeMoore NAS, CA 9/23/2017 Europe RAD 10/18/2017
Camp Pendleton, CA 9/23/2017 Dover AFB, DE 10/20/2017
Twin Ports, MN (Duluth Area Council) 9/29/2017 Fort Polk, LA 10/21/2017
Fort Campbell, KY 9/30/2017 Wright Patterson AFB, OH 10/27/2017
Camp LeJeune, NC 9/30/2017 Fort Hood, TX 10/28/2017
Minneapolis, MN 9/30/2017 Luke AFB, AZ 10/28/2017
JB Andrews AFB, MD 9/30/2017 NAS Pensacola, FL 10/31/2017
Travis AFB, CA 10/7/2017 JB PH-Hickam, HI 11/2/2017
Carlisle, PA 10/7/2017 Little Creek, VA 11/3/2017
Great Lakes, IL 10/7/2017    

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