Losing a loved one is an especially difficult time for those left behind. In addition to the grief the family will suffer, they will also be faced with several issues and questions about a life built around the Army. Some of these will be addressed immediately by the Casualty Assistance Officer (CAO), but some will not surface for many months or years - long after the Casualty Assistance process has ended. Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) can help. SOS is a holistic, multi-agency approach to delivering services specifically to surviving Family Members. The friendly staff at Survivor Outreach Services is here to assist surviving Family Members with whatever issues they might have. Our services are also offered to retirees and non-active duty incidents as well. Our mission is...“To embrace and reassure Survivors that they are continually linked to the Army Family through a unified support program that enables them to remain an important part of the Army Family for as long as they desire.”
- To provide enhanced services to surviving Family Members.
- To help surviving Family Members cope with the loss of their loved one.
- To improve responsiveness and streamline the assistance process for surviving Family Members.
- To ensure surviving Family Members have access to all entitled benefits.
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 family’s 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 adjunct specialists in the program. They partner with support coordinators to provide financial and estate planning support and education to surviving family members. This support can be limited in scope or comprehensive depending on the needs of the family. This support is also provided on an ongoing basis as requested by the family. They 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 (cash flow/budgeting, risk management, college planning, investments, retirement, estate planning, etc) and education
- 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.
Visit us in our new location
Bldg. 241 Sheridan Road
Fort Bliss, Texas 79916
Survivor Outeach Services Resources
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.
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.
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.
"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.
"Promise" is the quarterly newsletter published by Survivor Outreach Services at Fort Bliss. Download the latest issue here.