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News | March 7, 2024

Soldiers encouraged to update DD Form 93 during PAI, to prevent delays in care, benefits

By Fonda Bock

Army units across the world are currently conducting a personnel asset inventory, or PAI, to account for all Soldiers. This will improve the accuracy of accountability and slotting data in the Integrated Personnel and Pay System, or IPPS-A.

The world-wide Army PAI began in February with the active component expected completion date of March 15 – May 31 for the Army Reserve and National Guard component units.

During an Army-wide PAI, the goal is to account for each Soldier and for each Soldier to account for their record and assign preferred benefits. Reconciliation of records informs the Army’s readiness and manning cycles.

Now that IPPS-A is the system of record for personnel management for the Army, accounting for each person is paramount to validate Soldiers’ records, according to Capt. Ivan Grullon, U.S. Army Human Resources Command coordination section lead for IPPS-A.

“Ensuring all Soldier records are accurate in the system of record will help the Army continue to manage the force appropriately,” Grullon said.

Soldiers are also encouraged to use this time to go into IPPS-A to verify their absences are correct and update their Form DD 93s. IPPS-A provides each Soldier the ability to update their benefits inside the application and ease the process.

Soldiers are required to update their DD form 93 every year around their birthday and are encouraged to update it every time they have a life changing event such as a marriage, divorce, birth, death and change of next-of-kin contact information or beneficiaries.

Soldiers can update their DD Form 93 at any time through IPPS-A. Once complete, IPPS-A feeds the form into iPerms.

As the official document of a service member’s record of emergency data, the DD Form 93 is one of the most important a Soldier will complete, said Chris Geeding, chief of notifications, Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operations Division, U.S. Army Human Resources Command.

“If you are unable to speak for yourself, the DD Form 93 becomes your voice,” Geeding said. “Should a Soldier become seriously injured or deceased, the form establishes his or her wishes for the next of kin notification and the distribution of applicable entitlements, which include death gratuity and unpaid benefits. It also identifies the person authorized to make funeral arrangements.”

The Army Casualty Program depends upon information in the DD Form 93 to ensure a Soldier’s desires are fulfilled, Geeding said.

Not having current and accurate information could result in the following issues:

1. Delayed notification of next of kin.

2. Delay in payment to beneficiaries.

3. Payment being made to an ex-spouse.

4. Family disputes over benefits.

5. Family not transported to a Soldier’s bedside in a timely manner.

“We’ve had several cases where the Soldier failed to update the DD Form 93, and by law and policy, we have to follow what Soldiers designate on the form,” Geeding said.

Outdated information on the DD Form 93 can delay notification, which then delays further progression on the case that includes contacting the person authorized to make funeral arrangements for the Soldier in the event of a death.

Nellie DeArmond, casualty team lead, CMAOD, said case managers must complete about 170 tasks to properly care for a service member during their death and ultimately interment. Those tasks include processing benefits and entitlements to Family members, recording disposition instructions, supporting travel arrangements for the next of kin, and providing supporting documents to national cemeteries.

“We have one of the most important and honorable missions in the Army,” DeArmond said. “I love what we do, though I don’t like that we have to do it. These Family members are grieving and may not have the capacity to make decisions. It is so much easier on them if the documents are correct and all the paperwork is in order.”