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Pay and Benefits Watch - Family Matters

Pay and Benefits Watch - Family Matters

Alyssa Rosenberg | Government Executive

November 19, 2009

The Defense Department also pays lump sums of $100,000 to the families of service members who die under those proscribed circumstances, and enrollment in the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance program can provide payments of up to $400,000 to families as well.

In contrast, the 1993 Federal Employees Compensation Act provides 50 percent of an employee’s salary as a survivor benefit when a federal worker dies of a job-related illness or injury. As the GAO report noted, the survivor of a federal civilian employee with a base salary of $27,697 would receive a bigger benefit payment through FECA each month than a service member’s family would receive through DCI base payments.

GAO did not draw conclusions about this disparity, pointing out that both military and civilian families could receive benefits from other government programs. But during a year when service members likely will receive higher pay raises than their civilian counterparts, it’s worth noting that in the thicket of federal benefits policy, sometimes civilian workers come out on top.

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