Originally Posted by Tomcat98
Does anyone know what benefits your spouse gets if you pass away while on Active duty and the time line those benefits are good for? Does it make a difference if you have less than 20 yrs service or have at least 20 yrs of service and are retirement eligible but have not applied for retirement?
You might want to keep a close hold on the answers until you determine whether you're worth more dead or alive.
One of the best benefits books I've read is Chris Michel's "Your Military Advantage". (He's the Military.com founder.) You may find a copy laying around a college campus office or library.
You may not have to do anything since one of the differences is medical retirement. If you linger on the way out then (whether you have more or less than 20 years) the medical & personnel people will work like crazy to maximize your benefits by choosing the appropriate action. They'd rather leave you hooked up on "life support" for a few extra hours while they wrestle the paperwork than to have to read a NYT/WP exposť on DoD trying to save a few benefits bucks.
I understand your concern. In 1996 the Navy took a sailor to mast for having cocaine in his urine, but there was enough DNA left in the sample for him to prove (at his own expense) that it wasn't his urine. (Somehow his chain of command or the Navy Drug Lab broke the custody chain.) So whenever I was chosen during my last few years of active duty, I donated a backup sample that afternoon at a lab out in town. It worked out to about $50-$100/year, which at the time seemed like pretty cheap benefits insurance...