MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Fifteen spouses attended the Casualty Brief – CACO, the Process, a class in the Beyond the Brief series offered by the Marine Corps Family Building Team, March 3.
The class taught spouses of Marines and sailors the legal process and benefits they are eligible for if their loved one dies.
“If there was one class I would recommend most it would be this one,” said Doretta Watkins, a readiness and deployment support trainer with family team building. “It may not be the most appealing one, but this is something that spouses of deployed Marines and sailors should plan for.”
For those who attend the class, the knowledge outweighs its macabre topic. The class covers the legal side of the casualty assistance process.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Roger Summers, a personnel officer with Wounded Warrior Battalion East, informed the spouses about the benefits they are eligible for, as well as, the programs the Marine Corps offers them in their time of grief, such as the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.
The class also taught the spouses about benefits they may never have heard of.
Within 96 hours of a death notification a tax exempt death gratuity payment of $100,000 is paid to the survivor, said Summers. This money can be used for anything the survivor needs.
Summers also talked about the amount of money given to survivors when it comes time to bury their loved ones. If they choose to use a private cemetery, they are given $6,000, and if they choose a national cemetery, they are given $3,600, he said.
To make the loss of a loved one a little easier, travel to the burial is also free for the spouse, children and parents of the deceased, added Summers. Even if the spouse chose a private cemetery, military honors would still be given to include a folded flag and wreath.
Spouses also learned that they were eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill even after their loved one had passed away.
For Kasi Lombardo, a military spouse, the class proved to be very valuable.
“This is my fourth class I have gone to,” said Lombardo. “It was very informational. I received information that I would otherwise might not be able to process if the CACO were to knock on my door.”
For more information or scheduling of the next class call the Marine Corps Family Team building at 451-0176.