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TAPS – Caring for the Families of America’s Fallen Heroes

 

Each May, we set aside a day to remember fallen service members, and a day to honor the children they leave behind. When members of the Armed Forces pay the ultimate price in service to our country, TAPS is there for the families who grieve for them. 

A Mission of Care

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc. is a nonprofit Veteran Service Organization dedicated to providing compassionate care to all those grieving the death of a military loved one. Their mission is to offer comfort and support to surviving families of military loss, regardless of when, how, or why their service member died.  

Since 1994, TAPS has provided comfort and hope to surviving loved ones during the most difficult time in their lives. 

TAPS provides a variety of programs and services to survivors nationally and worldwide. Roughly 100,000 military survivors receive support from TAPS. In 2021 alone, the organization connected with nearly 10,000 newly bereaved loved ones—an average of 25 new survivors every day. 

Advocating for Survivors

TAPS has big goals when it comes to fighting for survivor families. They advocate for improved federal programs and services through the DOD, the VA and other federal organizations, as well as state and local governments. TAPS also works to advance policy and legislative measures that help strengthen the families of America’s fallen heroes. 

Here are just a few of their highest priorities:

  • Landmark toxic exposure legislation – TAPS is the leading voice for the families of those who died from toxic exposure in the military, and they helped get the Honoring our PACT Act passed earlier this year. The bill aims to improve healthcare and services for Veterans who were exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances. 
  • Caring for Survivors Act – this bill would increase dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) for surviving families. 
  • A comprehensive remarriage bill – a long-term goal of TAPS is to help secure the right for surviving spouses to remarry at any age and not lose survivor benefits. 
  • Gold Star Families Day Act – this bill would honor the tremendous sacrifice Gold Star Families make by creating a federal holiday and national day of remembrance for all who lost a loved one in military service. 
  • Improved Death Gratuity – this benefit helps eligible survivors of deceased military members meet financial needs after military paychecks stop and before survivor benefits kick in. But gaps exist in this pay that can leave families with huge out-of-pocket funeral expenses that may limit the ability to pay for housing or put food on the table. TAPS is working to improve this process.
  • TAPS is also working to ensure benefits for Veterans who die of COVID-19 with underlying service-connected disabilities. 

Resources

According to TAPS, “Grief is emotionally exhausting, yet in the midst of these intense emotions, details still require attention.” During such difficult and overwhelming times, TAPS offers a deep wealth of knowledge, experiences, and resources to those grieving the loss of a service member. 

A survivor care team is the first line of support to connect survivors to all the help and care TAPS offers. TAPS caseworkers are trained to provide compassionate, responsive support and draw upon a substantial list of resources to help fill immediate needs, such as burial benefits, funeral honors, suicide loss support, and grief counseling. And TAPS offers a national network of Peer Mentors – people who are trained to help, but also know what it’s like to lose a military loved one. 

From local TAPS-Togethers to national retreats, TAPS also has a wide range of programming tailored to specific survivor populations, from youth to men and women. 

Training

The TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing® is a training center for bereavement professionals and grieving families. It is a place to educate caregivers, mental health professionals, clergy, funeral directors, and the bereaved themselves on the best ways to navigate the journey of grief. 

Coffee for a Cause

TAPS will never stop fighting for America’s Gold Star Families. To support their efforts, we’d like to offer Chocolate Hazelnut as our May #coffeeforacause. During the month of May, purchase our Chocolate Hazelnut coffee and a portion of the proceeds will be donated directly to TAPS. 

To learn more about TAPS, please visit their website and follow on Instagram.

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