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Survivor Outreach Services (SOS)

 

Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) provides long-term support to surviving Families of fallen Soldiers. Our goal is to reassure survivors that they remain valued members of the Army Family.

The SOS program connects you with people who can help. Our services include grief counseling, financial counseling, benefits coordination, support groups, and garrison and surrounding area events.

After a loved one is lost, unresolved issues or questions may surface months or years afterward. The Army is dedicated to fulfilling its promise by providing support to surviving Families. Our financial counselors aid surviving Families through investment and estate planning education, and our support coordinators provide long-term support. SOS can help you navigate the details.

SOS delivers services at garrisons and communities closest to where Families live. Regardless of your loved one’s component or branch, duty status, location, or manner of death, SOS will provide dedicated outreach and support when and as long as you desire.

SOS also honors survivors with Gold Star and Next of Kin lapel buttons. They are symbols of your sacrifice, widely recognized throughout the country. Find more about Gold Star and Next of Kin lapel buttons here.

The Gold Star and Surviving Family Member (GSSFM) Representative is the Army advocate for surviving Family members – and any survivor can contact an Army GSSFM Representative directly any time for any reason. These representatives are available to provide support and address complaints by spouses and other dependents of deceased service members regarding casualty assistance or receipt of benefits authorized by law. If you have questions or concerns about casualty assistance or receipt of benefits, your GSSFM Representative can help.

You can contact a GSSFM representative at +1(833) 313-1960 or usarmy.jbsa.imcom-hq.mbx.sos-survivor-advocate@army.mil.

 

Find more resources for survivors here.

Who do we provide services to?

We provide support services to all Families of the Fallen. The primary and secondary Next-of-Kin of the deceased soldier is usually the spouse, children and or parents. However, we assist all Family members to include the extended family.

When do we begin to provide our services?

While there is no fixed time frame at which we must engage a client, our goal is to begin communication with them, at the latest, when their appointed CAO (CAO) is released. We can, however become involved as early as needed or when requested by the Casualty Assistance Center (CAC).

How long are clients eligible for our services?

We will provide our services as long as the surviving family members need us or request our involvement. Clients are eligible no matter the length of time since their loved one has passed on. We strive to be an important part of a surviving familys support system for many years to come..

Support Coordinators

Support Coordinators are the main points of contact for surviving family members. They work closely with CAC to ensure a smooth transition for the family after the Casualty Assistance process is completed. They initiate the new client engagement and ensure that continuous outreach is provided to the family as long as it is needed or wanted. They function as long term support personnel for the program by coordinating support groups, presenting briefings to the community and leadership; and providing life skills and supportive counseling. They partner with the Benefits Coordinator and with the CAO to ensure the survivor receives all necessary services.
Support Coordinators provide the following services:

  • Local long term case management (supportive counseling; life skills education; support groups)
  • Serves as an advocate for eligible beneficiaries and develops a plan of action based on client needs.
  • Provides information and referral services for survivors.
  • Responsible for linking all phases of the SOS program.
  • Develops partnerships with military, civilian and non-governmental agencies to leverage support to survivors.
Financial Counselors

Financial Counselors are additional specialists in the program. They partner with Support Coordinators to provide financial and estate planning support and education to surviving family members. This support is provided to meet the needs of the family and ongoing as requested by the family. Financial Counselors work closely with the Benefits Coordinator and Legal to ensure all financial and estate issues are addressed.

Financial Counselors provide the following services:

  • Analyze benefits in context of complete financial picture
  • Aid in identifying financial needs and objectives
  • Deliver comprehensive financial planning and education (cash flow/budgeting, risk management, college planning, retirement, etc.)
  • Refer to other entities to address financial matters beyond their scope, such as estate planning execution, and investment selections
  • Assist in implementing financial recommendations
  • Periodically review and reassess financial plan to ensure objectives are met
  • Partners with Benefits Coordinator, Financial Readiness, Legal, and RSO to enhance services
Benefits Coordinators

No one is ever fully prepared to lose a loved one, which is why we have Benefits Coordinators. Benefit Coordinators are located at the Casualty Assistance Center Center and are there to assist and guide Survivors as they make the many decisions necessary following the death of a Soldier. Benefits Coordinators help identify specific benefits and entitlements for Survivors. They assist in completing paperwork and navigating the various agencies Survivors encounter.

Survivor Outeach Services Resources

A Survivor's Guide to Benefits

The Department of Defense takes seriously its obligation to our service members and their families. This guide is intended to aid you as you work through the difficulty and pain of losing a loved one who was serving in the military. Download your copy of the guide here, at the Military OneSource website.

Presidential Memorial Certificate

Are you, or is someone you know, a loved one of an honorably discharged deceased Veteran? Next of kin and loved ones may receive a Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC), which is an engraved paper signed by the current President. Learn more here.

FinancialCounseling Services

Did you know that, as a SGLI beneficiary, you may meet with financial planners in your community at no cost to you? There is no limit to the number of sessions that you may have. Learn more here.

Bookshelf Resources

"Books are the compasses and telescopes and sextants and charts which other men have prepared to help us navigate the dangerous seas of human life." ~ Jesse Lee Bennett. Find books recommended for and by survivors, here.

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