Most consumers understand that they should have a will to ensure that their estates are distributed in a manner that meets their wishes should they pass away. They should also consider life insurance to take care of their debts and provide support to their families or to pay for their funerals. Our folks in the armed forces are no different in this regard; however, there is one more area they should keep up to date, and that is the DD 93 form.
The DD 93 form is the military’s record of emergency data. Actually, everyone should have this type of information available for survivors to review; however, the military has formalized this requirement and makes it mandatory for every soldier when they join the service. It is up to them to keep it up to date.
In this post, we will review the DD 93 form, when it should be updated, what the essential elements are, how to fill one out, where you can find it, and where you go to update the form. This form must be kept up to date to ensure that your financial affairs concerning your salary and benefits are properly managed during an emergency, such as when a soldier is captured, missing, or upon their death.
What Is a DD 93 Form?
The DD 93 form was designed to ensure that a soldier indicated to the military who their beneficiaries are for specified benefits along with the names and address of the people the soldier would like to be notified if they are missing or died.
The DD 93 also provides for a Death Gratuity Program benefit which the soldier designates to their beneficiary or eligible survivors if they die while on active duty or while serving on specified reserve statuses. It is a tax-free payment of $100,000 and is intended to help the survivors meet their financial requirements following the soldier’s death.
If the soldier is missing, captured, or interred, the DD 93 provides the details regarding how their pay should be processed.
It is important to keep this document up to date to ensure that various life events are taken into account and that the funds distributed are provided in such a way that they meet the soldier’s current requirements.
DD Form 93 (Record of Emergency Data)
When to Update?
Initially, a soldier will update the DD 93 form when they join the service and also when they leave the service. The military recommends that members review the DD 93 form at least once a year to update the form as needed. In addition, whenever life events take place, the soldier should also update the form. Examples of life events include:
- Change in common-law arrangements
- Birth of children
- Beneficiary’s change
- Change in address
While it is not a pleasant thing to contemplate needing the information contained on the DD 93 form, it is important to keep it up to date. There have been examples where the benefits went to an ex-spouse instead of the current spouse because the member forgot to update their DD 93 form.
The benefits derived from the DD 93 form are distributed as per the instructions on the form. They take precedence over any instructions contained in a will which could have different instructions in terms of distribution of assets.
Elements of DD form 93
The DD93 form is an extremely important document. Properly filling it out ensures that your financial affairs where the military is concerned are looked after in the manner you wish. Everyone should plan to keep it up to date and review the form at least once per year for accuracy. The essential elements are:
- Your personal information, including SSN, service category, and reporting unit
- Your dependents – spouse and children’s names and address
- Parents Names and addresses
- Notification guideline
- Beneficiary and address
- Special Remarks and signature
How to Fill the DD form 93 Record of Emergency Data?
The form comes with a complete set of instructions for each section. Most people will fill in the form online and save the document online. This is probably the easiest method to initially fill in the document, review for updates, and save. The form can also be typewritten or handwritten. It is in your best interest to fill in the document clearly and legibly to ensure accuracy when the data is eventually entered into an online system by a 3rd party.
The instructions are very clear and well written. All of the details are important. However, we will highlight several points that individuals should pay attention to.
Pay particular attention to your beneficiaries, especially if there are divorces, separations, and children in the mix. Most people will want to ensure that their pay goes to the right person and that the form is updated to reflect changing relationships.
The additional information section is your opportunity to include information that is not addressed on the form. These could include, but are not limited to:
- Location of a will
- Language barriers
- Private insurance details
- Location of personal items
- Other family members contact details
Where Can I Find My DD Form 93?
The DD 93 form can be found on the Department of Defense documentation website, your Human Resource section, or through the chain of command. While filling out all of the forms the Defense department provides you may seem tedious, it is in your best interest and your family’s best interest to fill out this form to ensure that all benefits flow to your beneficiaries promptly.
Where do I go to update my dd93?
Soldiers must check in with their units S-1 or human resources personnel section to update the DD 93 form. Completed DD 93 forms are held in the Soldier’s personnel file within the Interactive Personnel Records Management System (IPERMS). It is from IPERMS that HRC’s Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operation Division gathers the Soldier’s latest and up-to-date documentation to begin processing benefits following a reported death.
The DD 93 form is used to obtain information in situations of emergency or death. Properly filled out forms will ensure that your salary continues to flow as required to your beneficiaries, and notifications are provided to the people you most care about in the event of your death.
Many soldiers forget to update the form on an annual basis. Unfortunately, in these cases, benefits go to the people listed in the form, even though you may have become divorced or separated or remarried. Make a point of verifying the accuracy of the form once a year to provide updates as needed to reflect life events that have taken place.
Provide additional details in the additional information section to facilitate the process. Whether it is additional people to contact or the location of a locker with your possessions, this information will help the people tasked with administering the process.
Some people might say, why should I be concerned about filling in the DD 93 form, I am dead, and it makes no difference to me. Well, it makes a difference to your family and loved ones. They are already suffering, and a properly filled out DD 93 form is one less detail they have to think about.