In an apparent effort to help homosexual military members gain access to the most benefits they legally can, the Defense Department issued a “reminder” that some benefits are “member-designated.” These benefits can go to any person, regardless of relationship (and thus avoid the restrictions of, say, the Defense of Marriage Act).
The DoD “identified” 14 benefits that can be designated to any person:
- Service Members Group Life Insurance beneficiary;
- Post Vietnam-era Veterans Assistance Program beneficiary;
- All-volunteer Force Educational Assistance Program – Active Duty Death Benefit beneficiary;
- Death Gratuity beneficiary;
- Final Settlement of Accounts;
- Wounded Warrior Designated Caregiver;
- Thrift Savings Plan beneficiary;
- Survivor Benefit for retirees;
- Casualty Notification;
- Escorts for Dependents of Deceased or Missing;
- Designation of Persons Having Interest in Status of a Missing Member;
- Veterans’ Group Life Insurance beneficiary;
- Person Eligible to Receive Effects of Deceased Persons; and
- Travel and Transportation Allowance: attendance at Yellow Ribbon Reintegration events.
The press release notes the DoD is
engaged in a careful and deliberate review of the possibility of revising the eligibility for additional benefits, if legally permitted.
This might indicate the DoD intends to “disconnect” some benefits from marital status. If, for example, the DoD removed restrictions on housing that require members to be married, then anyone could live in base housing, married or not. This course of action would be consistent with the calls by homosexual advocates who have asked the DoD to remove restrictions to permit homosexuals to gain benefits currently limited to married couples even while DOMA is in effect.